Running a Community

There are times when you’ll need to operate the community yourself. Much of what we’ve already seen regarding watching your own websites applies to communities, and as a result, you have access to everything—server logs, analytical details, and more. Because you’ll control design and layout, you can often embed JavaScript for analytics. You can also more tightly control the look and feel of the community and enforce terms of use that suit your business. In some cases, you may be forced to run a community yourself for legal or privacy reasons.

Note that we’re talking here about communities that are still intended for the public. You may have internally facing communities intended for collaboration and project work, which we’ll look at in the next chapter.

In addition to the headaches of setting up and running a community platform, you’ll also need to convince others to join you. If you can manage to get your customers and fans to use a community that you run, you’ll have an important asset for your organization. You’ll also have unbeatable insight into the community’s behavior. Best of all, you’ll be able to tie community activity back to business outcomes, such as viral spread, contribution, purchases, and so on.

Running Groups and Mailing Lists

There are a number of open source and commercial mailing list servers. majordomo and GNU mailman are both mature listserv implementations, and while you can configure Microsoft’s Exchange Server to support and run mailing ...

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