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Community management that works: how to build and sustain a thriving online health community.

Young C - J. Med. Internet Res. (2013)

Bottom Line: But social Web (Web 2.0) technology alone does not create a successful online community.Building and sustaining a successful community requires an enabler and strategic community management.The paper draws on insights from an ongoing study and observation of online communities as well as experience managing and consulting a variety of online health communities.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Canadian Virtual Hospice, Toronto, ON, Canada. colleen@colleenyoung.com

ABSTRACT
Health care professionals, patients, caregivers, family, friends, and other supporters are increasingly joining online health communities to share information and find support. But social Web (Web 2.0) technology alone does not create a successful online community. Building and sustaining a successful community requires an enabler and strategic community management. Community management is more than moderation. The developmental life cycle of a community has four stages: inception, establishment, maturity, and mitosis. Each stage presents distinct characteristics and management needs. This paper describes the community management strategies, resources, and expertise needed to build and maintain a thriving online health community; introduces some of the challenges; and provides a guide for health organizations considering this undertaking. The paper draws on insights from an ongoing study and observation of online communities as well as experience managing and consulting a variety of online health communities. Discussion includes effective community building practices relevant to each stage, such as outreach and relationship building, data collection, content creation, and other proven techniques that ensure the survival and steady growth of an online health community.

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Virtual Hospice forum activity (captured April 2, 2013).
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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figure1: Virtual Hospice forum activity (captured April 2, 2013).

Mentions: Virtual Hospice’s online community was first introduced in 2004, but after the initial launch, the discussion forums languished with little to no activity. In 2011, the author joined Virtual Hospice’s team to develop and implement a strategic online community management plan and establish a successful community. Today, the fledgling, but active, community continues to grow, providing peer-to-peer support and information for a very specific point in the health continuum, namely for people living with life-threatening disease, for friends and family who care about and for them, and for people dealing with grief and loss (see Figure 1).


Community management that works: how to build and sustain a thriving online health community.

Young C - J. Med. Internet Res. (2013)

Virtual Hospice forum activity (captured April 2, 2013).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3713910&req=5

figure1: Virtual Hospice forum activity (captured April 2, 2013).
Mentions: Virtual Hospice’s online community was first introduced in 2004, but after the initial launch, the discussion forums languished with little to no activity. In 2011, the author joined Virtual Hospice’s team to develop and implement a strategic online community management plan and establish a successful community. Today, the fledgling, but active, community continues to grow, providing peer-to-peer support and information for a very specific point in the health continuum, namely for people living with life-threatening disease, for friends and family who care about and for them, and for people dealing with grief and loss (see Figure 1).

Bottom Line: But social Web (Web 2.0) technology alone does not create a successful online community.Building and sustaining a successful community requires an enabler and strategic community management.The paper draws on insights from an ongoing study and observation of online communities as well as experience managing and consulting a variety of online health communities.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Canadian Virtual Hospice, Toronto, ON, Canada. colleen@colleenyoung.com

ABSTRACT
Health care professionals, patients, caregivers, family, friends, and other supporters are increasingly joining online health communities to share information and find support. But social Web (Web 2.0) technology alone does not create a successful online community. Building and sustaining a successful community requires an enabler and strategic community management. Community management is more than moderation. The developmental life cycle of a community has four stages: inception, establishment, maturity, and mitosis. Each stage presents distinct characteristics and management needs. This paper describes the community management strategies, resources, and expertise needed to build and maintain a thriving online health community; introduces some of the challenges; and provides a guide for health organizations considering this undertaking. The paper draws on insights from an ongoing study and observation of online communities as well as experience managing and consulting a variety of online health communities. Discussion includes effective community building practices relevant to each stage, such as outreach and relationship building, data collection, content creation, and other proven techniques that ensure the survival and steady growth of an online health community.

Show MeSH