The Internet as a community

An online community is a virtual community that exists online and whose members enable its existence through taking part in membership ritual. An online community can take the form of an information system where anyone can post content, such as…

Instant messaging (IM):

Instant messaging (IM) is a form of communication over the Internet that offers an instantaneous transmission of text-based messages from sender to receiver. In push mode between two or more people using personal computers or other devices, along with shared clients, instant messaging basically offers real-time direct written language-based online chat. The user’s text is conveyed over a network, such as the Internet. It may address point-to-point communications as well as multicast communications from one sender to many receivers. More advanced instant messaging allows enhanced modes of communication, such as live voice or video calling, video chat and inclusion of hyperlinks to media.

Chat-rooms:

The term chat room, or chat-room, is primarily used by mass media to describe any form of synchronous conferencing, occasionally even asynchronous conferencing. The term can thus mean any technology ranging from real-time online chat over instant messaging and online forums to fully immersive graphical social environments.

Discussion groups:

A discussion group is an online forum for individuals to discuss various topics amongst each other. People add their comments by posting a block of text to the group. Others can then comment and respond.

Blogs:

A blog (a portmanteau of the term web log) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).

Portals:

A web portal is a web site that brings information from diverse sources in a unified way. Usually, each information source gets its dedicated area on the page for displaying information (a portlet); often, the user can configure which ones to display. e.g. yahoo, MSN…

Social media networks:

Social media includes web- and mobile-based technologies which are used to turn communication into interactive dialogue among organizations, communities, and individuals. E.g. Facebook

File sharing sites:

File sharing is the practice of distributing or providing access to digitally stored information, such as computer programs, multimedia (audio, images and video), documents, or electronic books. Such as YouTube; Flickr, Twitter…

Online reputation management tactics:

  • Start your own local meetup: Sites such as meetup.com make it quick and easy to set up groups in your local area. For example, if you’re involved in internet marketing, you may want to host a monthly event where local business owners can come along to find out more about SEO and other topics. Alternatively, you could establish a meetup for other professionals in your field so you can bounce ideas off each other and possibly explore opportunities for collaborative working. It’s easy to promote your event on meetup.com through your social media channels and email.
  • Launch a LinkedIn group: Again, it’s easy to set up a dedicated group on LinkedIn which can help to enhance your reputation with clients and your peers. These groups can be used to start discussions on hot industry topics, provide links to your blog posts, and overall, demonstrate your level of knowledge in your industry.
  • Give away a white paper or useful PDF on your website: In my opinion, not enough companies give away useful information on their websites. For example, if you’re an accountancy firm, why not compile a list of useful free resources to help people understand tax or VAT issues? A lot of people don’t want to give away too much information. While I understand this, the majority of the people who read your downloadable report won’t go off and do what’s described, simply because they don’t have the time.
  • Provide consultancy via Skype: If you think there’s a demand for consultancy related to what you do, you could set aside some time each week to do this online. There are online calendar tools available that let people book time slots and pay online up-front. You could do maybe offer three or four half hour consultancy sessions a week initially to see how things go.
  • Take part in webinars: Many leading figures across a wide range of industries use webinars to highlight their expertise. If you don’t have the status or following to justify doing one yourself, the next best thing is to take part in one by asking questions. It’s very likely other people within your industry and interested potential customers will be taking part or following the discussion too, so it could lead to opportunities for your business.

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