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Chapter 9. SUBGROUPS: Clans, Clubs and C... > Developing Your Official Program

Developing Your Official Program

It’s great to foster self-defined groups on an individual basis, but if your goal is to develop a large-scale Web community, your job will be easier (and your community more manageable) if you develop an official program to recognize and support member-created groups. Cultivating emerging subgroups will have given you some valuable knowledge about the needs and desires of some of your most devoted and motivated members—you also may have run into groups whose activities you’d rather not encourage. Now it’s time to put this knowledge into action, and create a program that will truly support and enhance your community.

Leverage Your Existing Platform

As we discussed above, every group needs a gathering place like a mailing list, message board or chat room to call their own. The easiest and most straightforward way to kick-start your official program is to leverage your existing platform by giving some unofficial groups their own gathering places, and then using their feedback to help you refine your program. For example, AncientSites launched its Groups program by cobbling together a private clubhouse using their existing chat and message board technology (see Figure 9.2), and inviting a group of old-timers called “The Rostra” to test it out (this was actually an effort to appease these disgruntled old-timers, who were threatening to leave because so many newcomers were intruding on “their” community). The Rostra loved their clubhouse, and soon another group asked for their own gathering place, and thus the official Groups program was born.


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