Internal online communities: create as many as you want?

I had a conversation today with someone who wanted to increase the use of the internal collaboration communities at her company. By “collaboration communities” I mean online communities that you find in IBM Connections, IBM LotusLive,  or a discussion forum as you might find in Jive, or a Socialtext Workspace ( I am trying to be technology- agnostic ). One of the things we discussed was whether or not the employees could just make any kind of new community at will, or whether the creation of new communities had to be approved by someone. One way of thinking is that the number of communities should be restricted – fewer overlapping communities, less for an admin to manage, less of a headache when it comes to archival, retention, etc. But are those concerns mitigated depending on the quality of the admin and archival/retention tools you have? Another way of thinking is that  any employee can create a new community ( public or private). What do YOU think? What have YOU decided to do for your own internal situations?  What should an organization’s stance be on  this matter if they really want to try to move people out o f “Collaboration via email” and into Community-based collaboration?  AT my current organization, we’re discussing what is the most appropriate choice.

  1. #1 by Yvan Cainzos on November 1, 2011 - 14:50

    Hi Mary,
    We have an internal debate about communitities created without validation.
    The decision hat taken is all new communities must be validate by the community manager or equivalent role. We identified a high risk with public communities without validations.

  2. #2 by Michael Kobrowski (@mekobi) on November 2, 2011 - 08:18

    It depends on the company and the company culture. Some companies try to silo everything and have no feedback and limit social internal discussions. Others encourage it. Some use the creation of internal social networks to change the existing culture and open things up. Others don’t get there.

    I think it makes sense to have a limited number from an admin perspective and also, if they cost money, as most do, from a money saving perspective. Less admin time spend also saves money. But the internals of the internal social network should be allowed to grow organically, otherwise it won’t get the viral effect it needs to work. IMHO

  3. #3 by Joe Litton on November 2, 2011 - 10:41

    Constant debate 🙂 …Best balance may be to allow anyone to create a blog / wiki / other, but after x period of time of inactivity (no read nor write), site/page/room would be archived or removed. It’s easiest to encourage the free flow of ideas if the flow can happen FREELY – with as little obstruction as possible (approvals and other ‘delays’). If an organization publishes a simple policy stating general guidelines and things that are definite no-no’s …and then lets the environment develop organically …I think that would foster greatest adoption and best sharing of ideas.

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