Should online communities have a better reputation? Should you join and participate in one more online community? Are online communities profoundly changing the world for the better?
Here are four examples of how online communities have changed my world:
- I was organizing a conference in London UK for a client. I researched the internet (blogs, discussion threads, social networks, etc.) and found 2 very interesting speakers to participate. One was from Finland and one was from the USA. The first time we met in person was at the conference. We continue to network and collaborate to this day. One of the speakers connected me to an incredible career opportunity.
- I created a post on my blog and promoted it via Twitter and some of my Linked In groups. I received an invitation on Linked In from someone who wanted to join my network. I accepted the invitation after reviewing his profile, and confirming a mutual interest and benefit. This contact invited me to help create a new social learning website for a professional community, introduced me to some other people who included me in a conference event, and provided a professional recommendation for me on my Linked In profile. I recently arranged a 6 month contractor role in the home country of this contact and we are planning to meet in person for the first time. He has a yacht and wants to take me sailing.
- I targeted a few companies where I would like to work. I used Linked In to identify people in leadership roles in these companies and introduced myself. Two of the leaders willingly spoke with me to explore opportunities to work together. I did not go through the traditional RFP process and spent very time and money on business development and marketing activities. I am presently discussing a 6 to 12 month contractor role.
- I participated heavily on the blog of a well known thought leaders in my field. I contributed to discussion threads, commented and rated contributions made by others, and helped connect some of the other community members to each other and to “content.” One of the leaders reached out to me. This leader acted as a coach and mentor, and a reference. Eventually this leader hired me for a contractor role. The first time we met in person was just 30 minutes before meeting our client for the first time. We are now talking about a longer term partnership.
How have online communities changed your world?
The authors of “the 2020 workplace” make the following predictions for online communities:
- You will be hired and promoted based upon your reputational capital (for example – successfully turning professional communities into increased business value for the organization and creating a stronger personal brand).
- Recruiting will start on social networking sites (at least 80 percent of recruiters will tap into online communities as the first stop to recruiting global talent).
- Corporate social networks will flourish and grow inside companies (corporate participation in social networks may be as critical in the 2020 workplace as managing cash flow).
I was inspired to write this post after receiving a link from one of my network members (Kim Burt) to Richard Millington’s blog post where he shared examples of how online communities have changed his world.