Online communities are “real”.

The Editors Weblog reports that We Media Forum organized by iFocos and hosted by the University of Miami with special support from the Knight Foundation and Reuters, the first session, Community Forum, got under way.

The purpose of Community Forum was to discuss “How communities real and
virtual are changing through media,” and asked “What are the new ways
for people to use information, news and journalism to imaging their
collective possibilities as communities, and to set and reach common
community goals?”

I am trying to explain to customers that online communities are not something to be afraid of since there is a persistent objection of “loss of message control, lack of brand control and overall disenchantment with community as a new marketing medium”.

I cant say people are lame and have their “heads in the sand” but some of their concerns are real. I will try and address the question of lack of brand and message control later, but her is what was interesting about this blog post.

“Israel is writing a book called “Global Neighborhoods” which explores
online communities. He talked about how the communities being created
on the Internet are not virtual as some would imagine, but real: real
people are being connected with others around the world, in ways never
before imaginable that defy all geographic boundaries. They are
creating lasting freindships and most of the communities are composed
of young people. What happens when they grow up and replace the Boomer
generation?”

I would agree with this a lot. Customer communities built at Mercury allowed customers to talk to one another, which gave them an opportunity to complain to each other, but they were more specific and collectively clear on what needed to be done to fix things.