Sunday, February 6, 2011

Managing Online Antique Forums

Insights From A Social Network Manager

Is there a secret formula to help newbies learn the art of managing an online forum? After several years managing the Antique Social Network, I Antique without reading what the "experts" had to say, I decided to do some homework on the topic.

Is There an "Official" Way To Run An Online Community?

O.K., I have read the good, bad and the ugly and now I am ready to offer my insights on the topic. First I would like to tell you that there is no "official" way to run an online community.
Management styles seem to vary according to the personality and philosophy of the Social Network leader. Some leaders like to have a great deal of control while others take a more laid back approach. And of course there is a middle ground which offers a more flexible management approach without sacrificing the integrity of the community.

Taking The Lead From The Leader Of An Online Forum

But don't kid yourself......the members of the community often take their lead from who is running the mega group. And just like in smaller groups, the group dynamics of an online community is often influenced by the leader's personality and management styles.

Reading Books That Are
Practical And Not Filled With Thick Jargon

So it should not come as surprise to you that because there are so many different ways to interpret "running an online community" that when you read a variety of books on the subject that you will find a lot of different approaches. Most texts on this topic over the years have been very business oriented or grounded in organization or group dynamics theory . There appears to be a slower developing yet growing body of information now addressing more of the practical issues that social media managers encounter. And I am delighted to say that more and more books are easier to follow (or maybe I'm more experienced now). You will then have to decide for yourself what authors make sense to you.

al Networks Are Like Families

As Editor of I Antique, I have gotten to know a lot of very active and enthusiastic members who contribute regularly to this exciting Social Network on antiques and collectibles.

Once you become familiar on a particular online communities you get to know who the "movers and shakers" are as well as which members prefer to stay in the background.

One member may be" the soother", another one is "the leader", yet another one is the "thinker" or even the "activist" or "diplomat". You get the idea. Well what does this have to do with managing an online community? A smart manager will help their Forum facilitators get to know who is in their Group Forum.

Think of Group Forums as mini-communities of your site. Or another way to think about this, is that each Group Forum is a "group family" . Everyone who is a member of a particular Group Forum has something special to offer. Get to know what each member "brings to the table" (their resources). By doing this..... Forum Moderators or Group Moderators can maximize the available strengths and have a more effective Forum or Group .

The Nuts And Bolts Of Social Communities (No Pun Intended)

While many technically oriented books include chapters which discuss "how to grow a community", "how to increase traffic", "how to optimize content" they still do not go far enough into the nuts and bolts of managing an online community which can be made up of thousands of people of so many ages from different cultures, educational, work and social backgrounds.

These wonderful images are from the amazing Anne Taintor collections.

C. Dianne Zweig
is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of I Antique Online an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©.To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at dianne@cdiannezweig.comVisit my website, CDianneZweig.comDianne is a member of:The American Society of Journalists and AuthorsThe Society of Professional Journalists

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