Considering Community: The Connect-Align-Produce network model for social-impact networks

In social-impact networks community members work together to create change for social good. In this post, CSCCE Director Lou Woodley takes a look at how that works. This post originally appeared on Social in silico.

Cartoon with arrows pointing from human face to human face
How many people in your network are connected to others in the network? Image credit: Jurgen Appelo on Flickr

For regular online communities, such as those hosted by an organisation, we looked at the four stage model of the community lifecycle described in Rich Millington’s “Buzzing Communities”. Last week, we considered a different type of community – a social-impact network where the emphasis is on group members working together for a social good. In “Connecting to Change the World”, the authors discuss three different stages of a social-impact network – and how it’s possible to transition between them. Let’s consider this connect-align-produce model.

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The Community Lifecycle – Converting theory to practice as a community manager

In this post, CSCCE Director Lou Woodley takes a look at the four-stage lifecycle model as presented in Rich Millington’s book, “Buzzing Communities,” and how it can inform the work of a community engagement manager.

Caterpillars and butterfly on a leaf
Monarch butterfly stages of development” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region under CC BY 2.0

Building online communities can be hard. Maybe you start a discussion and nothing happens – silence. Or maybe last week saw lots of conversation but this week you’re back to worrying that you’re talking to yourself. Combine that with the lack of training and resources for community managers and you can be left confused about what to do to help your community activate and grow.

One of the resources that we’ve used a lot is the four-stage lifecycle model presented in Rich Millington’s book, “Buzzing Communities”. Millington’s model is based on a systematic review by Iriberri and Leroy which synthesized the results of 27 papers about online communities to create a model for how online communities progress. This lifecycle model is key if you’re a community manager because it explains clearly what to expect at each stage – and what you should be doing to move things along to the next.

We’ve now used this model in exercises for our internal Community manager journal club, for our Community Engagement Fellows training and even for a staff lunch and learn event. Read on for some key takeaways about the lifecycle model.

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Why do academics use social networking sites?

This post, written by CSCCE Director Lou Woodley, takes a look at the motivations of academics who use social networking tools.

Person using a laptop
Browsing” by Nick Olejniczak under CC BY-NC 2.0

Last week our team took a quick look at a recent paper, which asks “Why do academics use academic social networking sites?” The paper presents the results of a survey of 81 researchers at three Israeli institutes who were asked about their motivations for using ResearchGate and Academia.edu.

The survey draws upon the Uses and Gratifications theory from the field of media studies for its research questions – exploring whether the five broad motivations for media consumers may also apply to academics that use online professional networks. Here we outline that theory and then highlight some of the findings from the paper.

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