Community management in journalism and beyond…

Facebook is an increasingly vital source for creating an online community. But how far is the world’s favourite procrastination device an organic means for stimulating conversation and how much does it rely on ‘friends’ doing you a favour?

I have been blogging about sport for the past two years and have only recently created an online community which I can be sure is more than just my mates reading my ramblings. Prior to this branching out (mostly done through Twitter, an entirely separate subject!) I knew that in order to generate any sort of following, comments and interaction around the blog I needed to put a link on Facebook.

Often I was confronted with the frustration of having my Facebook feed littered with comments, even discussion under the link and yet no comments on the site itself – the kind of the thing which helps when looking to build a following. I even resorted on occasion to asking friends to ‘go and write that on the site please’ after they had already offered their opinion on my profile.

Is this a cheats way of creating an online community? Of course you offer the link and encourage comments but when you reach the stage where you are directing proceedings is the idea of an open, interactive community no longer existing? Is this now an online dictatorship?

I don’t want to tell my friends to comment on my blogs. I want to create a following and a sense of worth amongst the mass of online writing. But Facebook, whilst offering an easy starting point for spreading the word also inhibits our efforts at creating a community around a blog as it provides readers with a far too easy source for comment and discussion.

Perhaps the future of online communities lies solely on Facebook in groups and fan pages or perhaps we all just need to work harder at publicising and attracting people to our blogs? Either way I hope I won’t have to keep begging for comments…what do you think?

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