Crowd Wise 3a: Mission's vision (Group Identity)

Data is not information, information is not knowledge, 
knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom.
Clifford Stoll

Amy Jo Kim refers to online communities as:
A group of people with a shared interest, purpose or goal, who get to know each other over time.

Do you agree?  Should online communities have a specific purpose for gathering?  Is it important to state the mission and/or vision for being together publicly or privately, right up front?   If you run a e-community what was your approach - how did you articulate this ability to meet their unmet needs?

Are any of the groups you belong to made up of people from a specific niche?

Think about some of the groups you belong to versus others, was the function made immediately clear to you or did it look like they were just collecting people?  Can you give any concrete examples?   
Knowing how to reach people is not the same as knowing the membership's needs nor is it knowing why they are there with you, nor even if you're providing them with what they want.  

And on a slightly different note but similar theme, how about badges or the various other ways members show their team colors to the world - are these good for developing group identity? 

Best, Karenne

This posting is part of the Crowd Wise series and is in part my preparation for the swap-shop I will be hosting on web-based communities at the IATEFL conference in Harrogate, April 8th 2010.  Your answers, as brief or as in-depth as you'd like to be, is very much appreciated!

To subscribe to all the posts within this specific series, copy and paste this url:  into your reader.  

Note: if you would like to participate in this conversation anonymously, please do feel free to do so.  Alternatively, if you would like to specifically mention an online educational community when making reference to your experiences, adding your group's name and/or its URL, you are most welcome to!

3 Responses to “Crowd Wise 3a: Mission's vision (Group Identity)”

  • Daily Alchemist says:
    February 13, 2010

    Well, I think that online communities should have a specific purpose, but the purpose doesn't have to be explicit.

    I don't think the group necessarily needs the purpose in a mission statement, most participants can probably infer the group's purpose by the theme.

    I think by keeping the purpose implicit, you would allow members more flexibility to interpret how they fit into the community.

    I think of it in the same way as a camera lens, if I allow the group members to adjust the focus themselves, we can all take pictures of the same thing from different angles and achieve much more.

    However, if I adjust all of their lens and then simply hand them the camera, we won't be able to achieve much in the way of creativity and new ideas. (I hope that makes sense!)

  • monika hardy says:
    February 13, 2010

    I like purpose... I think if you're drawn together by passion.. the relationships are so much richer.
    And to me - the relationships are what give any gathering value.

    Just in listening to students... authenticity happens with purpose. Purpose begs action. Students have great insight here because they are more about doing..than just conversing.

    February 13, 2010

    Thanks Neil,

    I really enjoyed your analogy of the camera lens - it does make perfect sense and is great food for thought!

    Especially because I agree with you and agree with Monika - first step is the love (of photography), perhaps?


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