Social networks are not communities, and other discussions from the Community Leadership Summit

Andy Oram | O'Reilly Radar | July 16, 2012

The Community Leadership Summit this past weekend roused thoughts in me about the predictions and analyses I’ve heard over the past few years about social networking and to contrast them with what we were saying about community. I realized that I appreciate social networks but feel much more passionate about communities, and spontaneously called for a session to talk about the differences. This article describes our discussion and summarizes the insights I got this year from the summit.

Attendees at CLS put a lot of effort into taking detailed notes,which you can check out at the CLS Wiki. So I won’t go into great detail here about particular sessions I attended.
Social networks and communities.

Let’s loosely define a social network as a set of relationships between people who know each other through family, work, school, religious and political affiliations, and other things. The whole human race is one social network, and Facebook is on its way to making that explicit. But in any case social networks are much bigger communities. Even the Ubuntu community (taking that as an example because the creator of CLS, Jono Bacon, is lead community manager at Ubuntu), appears tiny next to any successful social networking provider...