I’ve taken the Community Checklist I wrote about earlier on this blog when making a distinction between fans/followers and real community members and turned it into a feature list. It’s a list of features that you should look for when starting a community and are looking for a good platform or are, in fact, building a community platform for your cause, blog, magazine, TV property, brand, movement or whatever. The Feature List is in the next post.

In the meantime, here’s the Checklist again.


The Community checklist

If you can answer “Yes” to these questions, you’ve got a good community on your hands.

  • Does it satisfy a real need? Do its members learn more, have more fun, get more done or get support?
  • Does it have a clearly articulated purpose?
  • Is it clear about who belongs and who doesn’t?
  • Is there interaction between members?
  • Are there enduring relationships formed between members that go beyond the original reason for connecting?
  • Do they contribute, do they participate, do they work together to achieve the common purpose? Being an audience is not a community.
  • Do they feel responsibility for each other and the community at large?
  • Are there roles, responsibilities and jobs performed by the membership?
  • Is it self-policing? Do people censure or eject unruly or unreasonable members?
  • Are there guidelines, rules, or norms of behavior?

To be really sure that you’ve enabled a real community ask the following questions of your members.

  • Do they identify with the community? Does it reflect, in part, who they are as an individual?
  • Do they have a sense of belonging?
  • Can they be who they really are without fearing rejection?
  • Do they have a sense of confidence, safety, even protection?
  • Do they feel part of something bigger than themselves?
  • Do they have a sense of purpose and meaning?


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