Community Starts at Home

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No one knows the importance of communities more than community leaders. Yes, many of us are on Twitter and attending local networking meet-ups such as The Community Roundtable’s CRLive lunches, but I haven’t found a local get-together specifically for the folks who manage high-tech virtual communities in the Greater Boston area to dive deep on community leadership. As the community manager for Ohloh, I know I”d really value a place to share best practices, war stories, and tips with others in similar roles. So I’m thrilled that we recently kicked off just such a group!

After introductions and pizza, we spent some time defining the mission and format of the group, with interesting and animated diversions to talk about whether community leaders with competing companies are in competition with each other, the differences between communities based on anonymity vs. transparency, and some innovative approaches to “training” executive management on community, among other topics.

I found it especially interesting when the discussion focused in on the differences between how younger digital natives approach community participation, as compared to older participants. One of our group described how he’s observed how many younger, digitally connected members are quite comfortable jumping into a community, contributing for awhile, then moving on to explore new communities and experiences. They take a “tapas” approach, tasting and sampling many communities in small bites. Older members often are more interested in choosing a few select communities where they contribute, and where, as in the “Cheers” theme song, everybody knows their username. The ensuing discussion was very illuminating, and it is just such insights that I’m keen to share!

If you’re focused on building virtual communities and located in the Greater Boston area, we hope you’ll join us for the kinds of rich, in-person interactions that spawn great new ideas. We’ll switch up the format, and move it around town to different locations so that it will be easy for people to participate. For more information, email dgruber at, and please check out our brand-new LinkedIn Group: Boston Area Community Wranglers. Community starts here, and we hope you’ll join us!


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