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Over the 10 years that I have been working with and on online communities, I have come across numerous member personalities. It is funny how these personalities are similiar to real life. At the same time, it is also interesting how someone in real life can project an entirely different personality online.

I wanted to share a couple of those personalities with you and would ask that you also share some of the ones that you have noticed, that I may have missed.

* Note: All of the titles have been made up

The “All-Knowing” – will answer any and every question, and will not reference any materials that may have assisted in their answer. They know it all, just ask them.

The “Researcher/Teacher” – will find sites to reference within the answers that they post, and link directly to those sites. Very knowledgeable individuals.

The “Poet” – all posts are a work of art, they are all well thought out and to the point. This member really knows what to say, when to say it, and whom to say it to.

The “Pile-on-er” – if there is ever a disagreement and it is many against 1, this member will always take the side of the many. They may not post that often, but they know when to pile-on and chime in.

The “Agree-er” – similar to the above, except this member will not just pile-on, they will simply agree, and move on. They may not post a reason for their actions, and may just post, “I agree”, but these members are out there.

The “Bater” – always wanting to start a fight, this members knows what to say, and who to say it to to get things going and to start a debating discussion that could spiral out of control.

The “New-bie” – someone that is truly new to your community and posts to find information or see what the community is about. These members need immediate attention so that you can retain them.

The “Goold-old-days-er” – this member will reminisce about how things were in the past, and how much better it was. At the same time, they were also complaining back then as well, so nothing really has changed with them.

The “Multi-personality” – will create numerous ID’s on your site to either agree with themselves, or fight with themselves. They can also gang up on others within your community and make it seem that some members are outnumbered.

The “Governor” – weather self-appointed or not, this member feels the pressure of leading the community to the promised land and will do anything in their means to protect it. While in most cases this can be a good thing, in some cases it can end bad with the member feeling that they have too much power.

The “Mediator” – generally every community has a couple of these. Whenever situations seem to begin to spiral out of control, this member will try to step in and diffuse it, not taking either side.

I think that this is a good start, but know that it is not a complete list, please feel free to add yours below.

As always, thanks for reading.


Here I would like to highlight a few corporate responsibilities that I feel are important when launching an Online Community or “Social Media” area.
Online communities should not be developed because “everyone else is doing it”. These communities generally end up in failure. An endless amount of time, thought and management is essential to the success of any endeavor. You should not jump right in with both feet with out discussing the below – as a main starting point.
1. Key Questions
Who is your target audience?
What is your communities purpose?
What is the “hook”?
What are people looking for?

The above 4 questions are a starting point for any company. Many discussions and debates will assist in developing an initial corporate strategy. These answers will also assist in the below (#2)

2. Features and Functionality
As a company is willing to expand their outreach and launch an online community, many factors come into play. One of the most important decisions – what they are going to offer their community….features and functionality, and how are the members going to interact with one another? Launching a full blown community with too many offerings
(blogs, wiki’s, profiles, friending, forums, video, photo’s….the list is endless) and choices can be very detrimental to the success of an online community. A staggered approach is the best way to ensure that your members are not initially overwhelmed.

3. Member outreach
It is up to you to find people that you feel will benefit from your community as well as those that will assist in the development and growth. “If you build it, they will come…” but they will not stay and you will not be able to retain any member if they see the “Empty Restaurant” (see prior blog post). Finding those key individuals and influences are key to the success and growth of any online community. Building this initial foundation is key for the longevity of your community.

These are 3 important steps for corporations to take before they jump right into an Online Community or Social Media launch.
As always, thanks for reading and comments are welcomed!


I am currently employed at Bose as the Digital Platform Manager, leveraging Ratings & Reviews and Community content to increase customer acquisition and retention

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April 2009