Chapter 2. Analyzing, Creating, and Managing Community Relationships

Building any sort of community site entails creating and managing many kinds of social relationships that are tightly bound to the context of their creation. In this chapter, we’ll explore how individuals develop into communities and how this affects the kinds of relationships we can create. We’ll also look at how companies and markets have changed such that now we need a new approach to managing and interacting with the people who form our communities, an approach that brings us closer to these individuals and creates less of an “us versus them” situation between customer and supplier.

Analyzing Your Users’ Relationships

Perhaps you do not already have a space on your site for the people you interact with, but whether they are customers, readers, or viewers, they probably feel some sort of relationship with you. Developing social software will help you to deepen this relationship and allow these people to interact on a one-to-one basis with your company. Their relationship with your company is only the beginning: enabling the people who come to you to form relationships independently should also be a goal. If you already have a community space, you are probably thinking about updating it and also need to consider these possibilities.

The realization that there are several different types of people you can interact with is important and, perhaps, obvious. It has a definite impact on the types of communities you can ...

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