I just read Nancy White's Blogs and Community – launching a new paradigm for online community? Truly a great article on how blogs build community. Her description of a topic centric community really helps you to think about the loose community network that gets created by blogs. The article also pointed me to a couple of interesting related pieces:
What's Better to Build Community: Blogs or Forums? - Compares conversation in blog world vs. forums. What struck me was:
- In general, blogs are great at connecting and bridging to a NEW community.
- In general, forums are great at harnessing and growing an EXISTING community.
Put in a different way, blogs allow us to grow a community without going to a single location. A forum or mailing list is most effective if everyone agrees to go to that single location and abide by those norms. Blogs allow community to be formed based on common interests and the community grows and evolves in a very fluid manner.
It's an interesting time right now as I'm beginning to see many more blogs with authors talking about eLearning and slowly a community (a very fluid community) is growing.