Ming the Mechanic:
History of Online Communities

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 History of Online Communities2004-08-19 01:20
31 comments
by Flemming Funch

Via several places, like Canuckflack, this chart:


which is from a report Online Communities in Business: Past Progress, Future Directions. Which is based on a survey about, obviously, the use of online communities in business. And which has findings like this:
* Participation in online communities, networks, and teams is growing (82%)
* Technologies for online groups are continuing to improve (79%)
* Retention of participants is not a significant problem (63%)

Despite these positive signs, some familiar problems persist:

* Most organizations can’t measure return on investment (72%)
* Many people still don’t understand what online community is (72%)
* The discipline of creating and managing communities is poorly defined (59%)
Sounds about right, even if not earth shattering. And the chart is interesting, showing the evolution of what we consider an online community. A virtual community is an idea that was most cool a few years ago, but which has merely morphed into somewhat different forms. Btw, I wouldn't place it in 92-93, but more like 95-96, and Amazon's and ebay's time are a little later too, I'd say, even if they maybe existed before.


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31 comments

20 Aug 2004 @ 14:10 by QMAL @24.98.1.76 : Blogites
This is a most informative graphic. I like the blog as a think tank. I have learned more looking at these blogs I think, than my entire previous experience with internet. I didn't even know what a blog was two weeks ago, so I feel in the dark even still. My oldest daughter recently moved into my green bubble here , and I found out she has a blog and also helps others make them. Wow I am in the dark. I remember participating in the metaphysics club on a network called Quantum Link sometime in the 80's, This format has evolved so much further than that. I feel like a wild dog that just arrived in society, I mean I realy have no idea how to conduct my self here, this is first blog I found , but I like the NCN , I' ve been raised in that kind of thinking, ideals. There is somthing acausal synchronistic about it. So I found blogs and the cool blogites in just one search,the first search,,so .you all are...Rockin Reality  


21 Aug 2004 @ 01:30 by ming : blogs
Sounds like a perfectly great place to start, of course. :-) Yeah, blogs are a different kind of medium. Different things happening, most of them good.  


21 Aug 2004 @ 16:08 by Joe Cothrel @68.40.13.140 : Clarification, addition, invitation
Hi Flemmming - glad you found the chart interesting. Jenny and I had a lot of fun putting it together. It's an updated version of an older (and uglier) one I did for the same conference in 1999: [link]

Incidentally, the accompanying text in the report notes that the green items are books, articles, etc, so that "The Virtual Community" refers to the publication date of Rheingold's book, rather than the lifespan of the concept. And, as you suggest, we tried to place items by introduction date, rather than by the date when they became popular.

One thing I now wish we'd included: Yahoo Groups. Seems to me it's been significant in a couple of ways -- as a milestone in the self-organizing small-groups trend we talk about in the report, and in its integration of email and web-based discussion.

But honestly I could keep tweaking this thing forever ...

-Joe  



21 Aug 2004 @ 20:38 by ming : History
Ah, yes, that explains it. Yeah, Yahoo groups changed a lot of things too. But it is all sort of inter-connected and continuous, of course, so hard to place anything with certainty. Anyway, great chart.  


28 Aug 2004 @ 09:32 by Gregory Wright @66.81.179.208 : Famous First Lines: who knows the rest?
"What hath God wrought?"
"Watson, come here, I want you!"
"Mary had a little lamb, her fleece was white as snow."
" MARCONI'S FIRST [TRANSATLANTIC] RADIO COMMUNICATION "
"That's one small step for the man, one giant leap for mankind!"
" FIRST E-MAIL SENT "

-- who can fill in the missing first lines?!  



3 Sep 2004 @ 13:13 by ming : First lines
Well, the Watson one was Edison. Of course the small step is Neil Armstrong. The first e-mail sent did, I think, just consist of two letters. It was meant to be more, but something crashed along the way.  


17 Feb 2005 @ 23:57 by David Woolley @65.25.241.212 : First online community
1973 was not just the year of the first email, it was also the year the first full-fledged online community was born. See [link]  


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Other stories in
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