The Future Of Online Communities


In conversation with other community leaders and managers this week, we fell to musing over all the different kinds of online communities we’ve helped set up, manage and troubleshoot over the years.

We started with command line interface (+1 if you remember that) and moved slightly up the ladder to the BBS or bulletin board system, a text-based no graphics interface, the precursor of more sophisticated bulletin boards you see now. Then on to services like CompuServe, Prodigy, AOL and others that began to add GUI’s – graphical user interfaces. Then to the “real web” that kids today might recognize.

In just roughly 18 years, we’ve come lightspeed in terms of what we can do, the strength of connections and ability to wideband our efforts via social media.

Jo Stratman over at FreshWorks, which concentrates on social media engagement, has a good point or two on the future of online communities. Though she was writing about Financial communities online, the same measure of sense easily extrapolates to Evolutionary Communities of all types. Here’s what Jo says on what the future holds for online communities like you may well operate either formally on your own framework, or as a Facebook Group, Medium publication or other format:

    • An increase in targeting specific groups based on demographic.


    • An increase in targeting specific regions or areas.


    • A decrease in corporate communities.


    • Niche communities will become more social.



Niche communities – those that are tightly focused around a problem, or common interest, will become more the norm with social media being used to grow and develop marketing within such communities. These communities will work in alliance with their members to highlight user generated content and will increasingly become the hearthfire around which the family of community gathers.

Coaching Questions for World Changing Women & Evolutionary Leaders:
Look at *your* community, the one you’ve nurtured and grown and ask yourself. . .

  • What are you leaving lying on the table? (not just money, think consumer preferences, trends, changing user base etc.)
  • What are you missing about engaging with those small micro-community portions of your following that could easily be picked up and re-engaged through social media? A fan page? A contest? A rousing, well-tended forum or event?
  • What stones do you need to turn over to discover these small niches that are interest-subsets of the people you love to serve?

You have your work cut out for you…let me know how you’re getting along with that by leaving a comment below.

And if you have a question to ask the coach, ask! I’ll be happy to answer if I can.



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