From what I’ve learnt during this course the most popular online communities are the ones that prove to have the most functionality and ease of access. I will mainly be relating this post to Facebook a it is at the moment the most popular online community on the web.
Why do other online communities not have the innovation that Facebook managed to grasp? This is a question that I don’t think people think about. Before Facebook there were multiple social networks such as Skype, Bebo, Messenger, Myspace and more. The difference is that however good these social networks were, they didn’t have much ease of access. Certain aspects were blocked if you weren’t a “premium member” or finding people you knew was difficult. This is a main principle that online communities should think about.
After Facebook, Google tried to come out with their own social network as well, they called it Google+ (G+). I joined this social network because their promotional video really emphasized the functionality of the community. It also had a great function that other networks lacked: the option to host group video calls without having to “go premium” (paying extra money for more functionality). I was quite sad when i joined G+ because nobody else seemed to want to join it. This was mainly because people couldn’t join it. G+ was given to the public as a beta to see if people would like it or not. The only problem is that the only way to get the beta was through an invite. Not enough people could test it and the result was that nobody bothered to change from Facebook to G+ when it as released.
To conclude, the main principles to follow to have a good online community is to make it fully available to the public, make it easy to use, easy to share and easy to find people without the need to leech money of the public to make “premium” services available.