Group support via social network services - how and why

I've been looking at using one of the social networking services to extend the reach of a growing community of ~200 people.  We don't want an email group or listserv experience, and the group has a website where they post announcements and other "broadcast" material.  It seems like a social networking service might be a good extension, particularly in light of the desire of the community to be able to reach out to the more distant members.

I've started thinking that LinkedIn for Groups is the thing to use.  A number of the community members already have profiles on LinkedIn, and LinkedIn seems a reasonable service for business-focused networks.  The primary thing I see LinkedIn groups providing is an affinity group for this community.  They don't all know one another, but the fact that they are all part of the same community has some value, and they would like to be able to take advantage of it.

There are several other options out there, as always.  They could move to something more centered on their own website, but that removes the opportunity to reach out based on the second and third level connections people represent in LinkedIn.  They could go with Facebook Groups, where there is more interactivity built in, but less "social networking" it seems to me.

I suppose a core question for this community is what they think they want.  That hasn't been completely clear to me.

3 Comment(s)

John Tropea said:

Haven't seen LinkedIn for Groups...Facebook Groups don't seem too different than Google Groups...I like Ning as you have usual group features like forums, as well as social network blogging.

But I see your point on leveraging on where people are already registered, in contrast to getting people to register at a new focused service.

The advantage of Facebook, it that you are a member for personal reasons and the fact you can hook up with groups within Facebook is awesome, you don't have to register at a new site for every group you want to join...but Facebook groups doesn't have the social network blogging features.

Check out http://grou.ps, great community site where you re-syndicate blog content (outside-in approach), this is where blogtronix is headed:
http://www.enterpriseweb2.com/?p=241

I've listed a few social network apps at the end of this post:
http://libraryclips.blogsome.com/2007/06/13/a-community-or-network-around-your-blog/

I suppose it's whether you want inhouse network blogs or not, if you do "Ning is in", check out the community site for the mobile browser called mowser http://my.mowser.com/

joitske said:

Hi Jack, tell me whether you tried facebook groups. It looks like you can set up a discussion forum too. I've worked with NING, but it doesn't have the email alert function (important for people with low bandwith).

jackvinson Author Profile Page said:

joitske-

Not yet. I take it you haven't played with them yet.

I'm hesitant to go with Ning and other "platforms" to reduce the need for the community to join yet another service. That's why LinkedIn / Facebook seem like the best options today.

p.s. email to you just bounced. Hope all is well.

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