am 4. August 2005
Ami J. Kim managed to summarize her experience in web community building and unmistified essential success criteria. With this guideline in hand (and mind) you will be able to create your community based on best practices and don't need to reinvent the wheel or to spend too many bugs on external consulting in community building. It's a science, however, Ami J. Kim gives a clear set of guidelines, her 9 design strategies which are easy to understand and to follow. You can't often enough be reminded to bring proper planning into your mind before doing any technical activities. However, with the emergence of further 'presence' based technologies or communication channels one would need to reflect your own objectives with her guidelines and such new technologies. Maybe an update regarding reference communities could help. After all an excellent opportunity for everybody interested in community building!
am 11. Juli 2000
I have spent the last seven years making every mistake that Amy Jo warns us against making for ourselves. She does an amazing job at encapsulating what is an unfocused and uncoordinated new world of Virtual Community Building, a world wherein most everyone is bumbling around, just making it up as they along.
It doesn't have to be that way! When I started MemeSpace.org, and years before Amy Jo's book was published, I designed it in the same way L'enfant did: I built a Grand City and then policed it and enforced focus and seriousness and discipline! Oh, was a boring and sad place, what a large desolate place! I discovered myself that one must build a Virtual Online Community Organically, in much the same way that London was formed from a small Village. Not like Paris, mostly planned from the ground up. And a VC should be a place of play, creativity, and exploration (self-exploration as well as others).
I learned my lessons the hard way. When I pre-ordered Amy Jo Kim's book and then received it, I pored over it and realized that I could have saved myself a lot of time and bad blood if I had had a book like this when I started.
If you want to smoothly design, build, and enjoy a powerfully dynamic and intimite VC, read this book thrice. And buy some for your Facilitators, Managers, and Organizers.
If you are a masochist and want it to be an uphill battle, then don't!
am 28. Juni 2000
The computer gaming industry is seeing a revolution. Just 5 years ago games focused almost exclusively (except for a few MUDs) on the individual's play style. But with more and more games coming onto the Multi-Player market (games like Ultima Online, Everquest, and UWO:Origin), the focus is no longer on the single-player experience, but instead deals with the new phenomenon of players interacting with each other and developing a sense of community.
Amy Jo Kim drives home the importance of this concept better than anyone else I know. The best part of her book is that it doesn't just stop with community development on the web. It also helps immensely within the games themselves. Forming guilds, designing in-game events, and emphasizing rituals to gain loyalty among players are just a few things that Amy's book can teach you how to perfect. Further, I really enjoyed the fact that she spent so much time on a unique community style that I'm involved quite a bit in - Email Groups. These Email Groups can be very difficult to moderate, especially when membership begins reaching into the hundreds, but I can say with confidence that Amy will show you how to take the reigns with confidence.
On a personal level, Amy's book has helped me immensely. I am in the very beginning stages of a fan-site dedicated to one of the newer Massively Multi-Player games called "Ultima Worlds Online: Origin", by OSI. I am constantly referring back to her book to focus my strategies for continued growth of my site as well as an accompanying e-mail group I run. I've learned how to cater to my members' needs, how to give them a sense of involvement using various techniques Amy has designed, and most importantly how to manage and enforce the rules that make my site enjoyable for everyone involved.
The Bottom Line - If you are trying to develop a solid virtual community on the web, in a game, or on an e-mail list, this is the ultimate resource tool for you.
am 21. Juni 2000
Amy Jo Kim has collected many online community learnings and turned them into a practical, readable, and useful book. She has distilled things down to a level where they make sense for the smallest online community, as well as for the mega-commercial sites.
So what's to like about this book? It is well-organized. Kim has built the book around her nine down-to-earth community design strategies with specific elements on how to execute those strategies. She stays on track.
It uses examples from both large and small sites which take this book from the realm of theory to one of practicality.
You can read all of it or one section and it makes sense. Chapter divisions and subheads make for a pleasant browse for inspiration or to get a specific tidbit. Graphics are used generously, but my "old" eyes had to strain a bit on the screen shots.
From a content perspective, I found myself repeatedly nodding my head in agreement with her assessments and suggestions. She pays attention to what I feel are the three main domains of a successful online interaction space: purpose, design, and social structures or interactions.
While the business models of online community may not yet be clear, the mechanisms are becoming more visible. You can save a lot of wasted time and effort by using the guidelines, pulling what is relevant, and leaving the rest for when your needs grow or change. Good book. Worth the price!
am 31. Mai 2000
Amy jo Kim has written Community Building on the Web to provide a broader perspective of the concept of community as it applies to the online world. The Internet comprises of millions of people with varying interests and needs to be met. They tend to group around one another at their favorite Websites, newsgroups, and chatrooms. They have, in effect, established their own little online communities according to the dictates of their own interests.
We have already seen a number of major online enterprises start to cater to their own members in special ways by structuring their own communities. Amazon, AOL, eBay, iVillage, Yahoo, and numerous My-dotcoms are examples of sites that have nurtured community environments for the benefit of their members. Amy jo Kim offers her readers the background information they need to successfully establish, operate, and manage their own online community presences with relative ease.
Readers are taught how to create or re-structure their existing Websites to meet the perceived community needs of their targeted audiences to achieve planned marketing objectives. Amy jo Kim offers some outstanding examples of existing Websites that serve the interests of specific audiences. She demonstrates throughout her book how easy it is to set up individual communities by developing themes, raising topics, offering products and services, encouraging participation and social interaction, offering feedback channels, and integrating sound marketing principles.
Community Building on the Web will help readers add a human touch to their online marketing strategies that will help draw new visitors to their sites, to foster community environments, to inspire trust and confidence, and to achieve intended objectives. This book will help Web developers, businesses, and private organizations meet the needs of their own online communities. Start your own today!
am 25. Mai 2000
"Community Building on the Web: Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities" raises the bar in the online communities field.
I've been in the Virtual Communities business for almost 25 years. During those years, everyone pretty much had to build their online communities by the seat of their pants. We were usually cursed to commit the same mistakes that so many others had encountered along the way. Many times communities would seem to run well for months, and then they would become popular, and then fail! Other times, otherwise interesting communities would languish for lack of a clear "Mission Statement" or poorly managed Terms of Service. In short, there was very little benefiting from other people's successes and failures.
This book changes all of that, forever! (Thank goodness!)
Amy Jo Kim brings together all of the fundamental building blocks needed to create a solid foundation for a successful web-based community. She provides the intellectual planning tools you need to help you understand what your community is about, how it will function, and how to help it grow.
If you don't understand online communities, this is THE book that will help you "get it."
Save yourself the first $3,000 of Community Web Site consulting, buy this book instead and use it!
This book instantly became required reading at my company, Communities.com. It immediately started saving us staff training time!
F. Randall Farmer Cofounder, Communities.com
am 4. Mai 2000
Amy Jo Kim's long-awaited book, Community Building on the Webarrived on my desk recently. I build online communities, so I'malways drinking in any information that comes down the pipe. The onebig plus that is apparent in the initial few pages of the book, is that this is a good starting point for those with no prior community-building experience. It's not that the book doesn't deliver much richer information -it does. What Amy Jo's book doesn't take for granted, is that there is a large audience out there of people who want and really need to start from square one.
Even before the book actually starts, the roman-numeraled introduction delivers Nine Design Strategies. #1 is Define and Articulate Your Purpose. Bang, that's enough to slow some people in their tracks and make them actually think about what they want to do. Three Underlying Principles are then introduced. For anyone actually involved in community building, just the information given in the introduction is more than worth the price of the book.
Chapter 1 draws on and expands the information presented in the introduction. Amy Jo even uses Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, presenting concepts to make sure the community member's basic needs are met before offering "higher-level" features. Something which is surprisingly often overlooked.
What I like about this book, is that it's void of academic and sociological, highbrow rhetoric. I thought it was quite subtle and interesting that Amy Jo's Ph.D. title is not displayed on the book. Instead, it delivers page after page of nuts n' bolts information on how to actually design, build and manage web communities. And before the building even starts, a lot of thinking has to take place. This book will get the motors running. If the reader's desire is still there after working through the "pull-no-punches" first chapter, then there's good reason to explore community building further. On the other hand, if the reader finds the wind knocked out of their sails, they'd have Amy Jo to thank for that too. No sense in investing a lot of time and energy if it turns out that a community venture idea never even makes it out of the gate.
One thing the author really has going for her, with her ten years of community-building experience, is that she's worked in a lot of virtual environments -and that is clearly reflected in the contents. From MUD's, to The Palace to eBay, each environment has it's own set of positives and negatives, and those are all well-covered.
The meat of the book delivers a well-rounded arsenal on community leadership, membership roles and rites of passage, etiquette, community growth stages, and even Event Planning 101.
The one aspect that might be missed by some is more actual case-history examples. In some ways, I actually found this refreshing, because there are more than enough web-community books on the market that cover those bases. If anyone is actually thinking of getting involved in building communities, they'll soon find themselves reading Cliff Figallo's Hosting Web Communities, and of course, the classic The Virtual Community by Howard Rheingold. (A second addition of Rheingold's book will be released soon by MIT Press.)
There are certainly more web community books [see our recommended links included with this article], but if there is one book to pick up first, Community Building on the Web, by Amy Jo Kim, is the one. END
am 31. Juli 2000
I've ordered a good many books from Amazon, and 'til now never felt the slightest urge to write a review. This is a useful and entertaining book from its dedication (check it out) to its epilogue. The quality of the writing is leagues beyond standard computer book prose, and the book is crammed with examples that are illuminating and interesting. The writer is really plugged in. The main point I want to make, though, is you don't have to be a Web "professional" to enjoy and learn from this book. If you care about how the Web works, you'll better understand its significance as a multipoint communications medium and have new information about how to use it more effectively after reading this. (Even if you didn't care about how the Web works, you'd find good stuff here about communities and communication dynamics.) And you'll have a good time while you're reading. Hard to ask for more.
am 19. September 2000
This book should be required reading for anyone considering implementing any degree of community on or around their website. Amy Jo has successfully concentrated years of experience in online communities into a highly readable book that provides many examples and case studies, and brings them all together with principles that make sense. Even better, these principles are explained in practical terms that can improve any online community immediately.
If you're looking for focused, practical, relevant material about building communities online, this is the first book to get.
Michael Sellers, Senior Game Designer, Maxis/Electronic Arts
am 11. April 2000
Every online marketing developer has to read it. Really good examples with a backbone of knowledges. Communities are more and more important in the new web economy, the creation of niches are such necessary to fight in a global world that needs to satisfy all these unattended people. This book introduce you in the way to succedd in the creation of the perfect communities. The lack of personalization in many businesses is being substituted by the new customization and retention of your personal and own customers, the necessary improvement of the MGM (member get member) strategies are some of the ways to arrive to the perfect community on line.