Building Online Communities of Engagement
How do you keep the vibrancy of a hugely engaging participant-centred online conference alive after the event. So often we are part of very lively and engaging unconferences where we meet so many new people and generate so many new ideas and intentions, and yet, once the event is over and one night has past, suddenly all that energy has dissipated. There is very little follow through and often all those good intentions dissolve.
Mainly because the people who collectively generated that buzz are no longer around and no longer accessible. So how do we maintain that buzz beyond the event, and maintain that connection between people. We believe that building an online Community or Circle around the essence that brought all the participants to the event in the first place is a key component.
Hence increasingly we are working on building and stewarding online communities, or rather helping clients do that. We are not talking about in-house communities within organisations, but rather cross-organisational or interest group communities where there is nor organisational framework they can live in. These may be communities around certain movements or methodologies, or trans-national theme related projects, or communities of practice which do not have a natural home.
The top gallery below shows an example of different aspects of an online unconference
We design the online framework for such communities, often after an event, where the members can feel safe, ‘at home’ and able to interact with each other. Each community will be very different in terms of needs, but at the very least a community needs
- a place where its members can interact with other members asynchronistically, as in a Forum or Discussion group
- A place where interest groups can form and pursue particular activities while still being part of the bigger community
- A member’s list with skills, offers, requests, where members can find other relevant members
- A place to view latest activities
- A place to meet up and converse synchronistically, e.g. on video conference, Zoom etc.
- A place where all the harvests (documents, boards, recordings) of the event are easily accessible, so that the spirit of the event can live on and is clearly visible.
Optionally a community may want to have any number of other features:
- A place to share and keep multi-media resources
- A place for messaging
- A community calendar which shows events relevant to the membership (both internal and external)
- A place where members can create their own mini-event or workshop for other members
- A place to meet on Zoom privately in smaller spaces, like lounges or gardens
- A newsletter where members can make announcements or post events
- A place for sharing or to exhibit
- A networking map
- A concierge or help desk
- A place for learning communities, incl. learning labs
- Other speciality features that are specific to a particular community (e.g. app)
These are all possible by embedding specific online tools in QiqoChat and designing a custom frame which members can relate to and thereby feel at home.
The gallery below shows the community designed as a result of the event, accessible to members all year round.
When setting up a new community, it is strongly recommended that not all possible features are introduced into community spaces, but rather just a few basic ones, as otherwise members can easily feel overwhelmed and not engage. Once members are familiar with the platform it is possible to add further features as they are required, on demand, later on.
If you would like to know more about setting up an online post-event community, please contact us.