Conversations about Community – ScienceOnline 2014

From Wednesday 26th February – Saturday 1st March, the next instalment of the annual ScienceOnline conference will be taking place in Raleigh, North Carolina. I’m going to be leading a discussion about Online Communities: meeting, managing, moving forward. Here’s the session abstract:

Community has become something of a buzzword in recent years – many projects, ScienceOnline included, use it as a way of indicating a more collaborative and participative emphasis to their activities.

In this session we’ll consider various aspects of community – from basic definitions to day-to-day community management issues. We’ll mention the importance of in-person interactions, as well as online ones, and we’ll consider what the future might look like for online communities.

Some questions that you might want to consider before the session include:

  • What are the indicators of a healthy community?
  • What can be achieved on an individual and collective basis from being part of a community?
  • What happens once a community is well established? How do you welcome new voices to combat echo chamber effects?
  • Can communities ever be successfully cat-herded? Is a community something that can (or even should?) be planned from the ground up, or does it happen spontaneously?
  • How much of a successful online community is about having the right technologies and/or communication strategies?
  • Many organisations are now looking to build communities around their products and activities; is this a recipe for conflict or an opportunity for more two-way conversations?

If you’re part of – or a manger of – any community, do come along and add your input to the conversation!

The session is a facilitated discussion, which means it won’t just be about me presenting my ideas but rather about other attendees shaping the conversation by inputting their own thoughts and experiences. Nevertheless, in the build-up to the session, I’d like to outline a few ideas in some blog posts that might serve as starting points for the discussions.

If you’d like to follow the discussions from the session online, it’s taking place on Saturday 1st March at noon (Eastern Time) and the hashtag is #ScioCommunity.


2 thoughts on “Conversations about Community – ScienceOnline 2014

  1. I don’t know what the future is for the communities, but I can tell you that from the point-of-view of a non-English science bloggers community, you’ve achieved something quite remarkable. Having a critical number of science bloggers, and amongst them a critical number able to produce content regularly, AND during years, is a strength you must not under-estimate. It’s something we are maybe beginning to achieve in the French-speaking world, but not yet done. I don’t know if what you’ve achieved is fragile or not, but the two best indicators that yours is healthy is the non-stop conversations on Twitter, and the fact that so many bloggers know and read so many others and talk about them and share and comment.


  2. Pingback: Conversations about Community – summary of #ScioCommunity session | Social in silico

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