A good friend of mine started a new job for the new year – working in social media for a UK charity. She asked me what reading I could recommend for somebody looking to learn more about online communities and how they can be launched and grown. There are a whole range of great books out there on how social media is used and the impact this is having on society (anything by Gladwell or Shirky would be a great starting point), but she was interested specifically in things that help managing and growing communities online.
Here’s the very short list I shared with her (and a few extra ones added in). There are many great books, articles and blogs out there and we’d love you to share your favourites in the comments below. But this is a good starting point and we would consider them essential reading for online community managers.
- Community Building on the Web : Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities, Amy Jo Kim (Amazon) – a great text explaining the how to grow online communities, and explaining through examples why they grow like this.
- Managing Online Forums: Everything You Need to Know to Create and Run Successful Community Discussion Boards, Patrick O’Keefe (Amazon) – another great textbook of how to set-up and manage online forums and discussion boards.
- 18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online, Angela Connor (Amazon) – a pragmatic approach to planning and building online communities, you can read our review of this book here.
- FeverBee – a great blog from practical community-builder Rich Millington.
- Community Spark – a community-building blog from Martin Reed.
- Using Social Psychology to Motivate Contributions to Online Communities (2005) – a look at how to combat under-contribution to your online community, examining how social psychology impact when and how people will contribute online.
- Understanding Community: A review of networks, ties and contacts, Working Paper, Real Life Methods (2007) – an interesting perspective on and review of the different ways communities form and bond online