Lunchtime Links: The Bond of a Strong Community

Why old-school network The Well is a model for associations with closed communities. Also: Build a working buddy system.

When building an online community, you want it to stand the test of time. An example of one community that has — and more! — in today’s Lunchtime Links:

The Well’s community bond: If you were online during the internet’s early days, you might remember The Well, an online network started in 1985 as a BBS that became a popular ISP in the early 1990s. When the network’s owner,, looked like it was going to sell the still-active community, members jumped in and purchased it from Salon. Socious’ Joshua Paul says there’s a lesson here: “Online communities ask members to make an investment of their time, knowledge, and resources,” he explains. “They are living entities that need a significant number of customers, employees, and partners to thrive.”

[Online communities] are living entities that need a significant number of customers, employees, and partners to thrive.

My buddy and me: Building off a tip from author Adrian Segar, EventDay’s Tyler Hurst suggests giving new conference attendees an experienced buddy to pal around with. Need to give those experienced members a reason to do it? Give them public praise and professional rewards, Hurst suggests. “Yes, mentoring can help drive business, and yes, the buddy system can help attendees learn more about their industry, but looking at it solely in business terms won’t do much good to convince those qualified to lead others.”

Feedburned? Google’s Feedburner, a long-used option for blogs and RSS feeds across the internet, is not looking particularly strong these days. A while back, the company shut down the service’s blog and Twitter account, and its API will shut down October 20. If you’re reliant on this service, you probably need to consider another option for your RSS audience in case Google shuts it down entirely. Fortunately, CMSWire has some suggestions.

New social tool of the day: Popular social enterprise app HootSuite wants to replace your inbox. The company just launched a new tool called HootSuite Conversations, an internal messaging system for team members that improves their social plan of attack — whether that means following up, amplification, or managing individual team members. Is this the tool for your association? Check it out.

What tools do you use to keep your social team in line?

(TMG archive photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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