Building Online Communities by Margaret Levine Young and John
Floor Publishing, go
to the web site
Margaret Levine Young and John Levine, well known
for several excellent and informative computer instruction
books, have gotten together to produce one of the
latest in the Poor Richard's series. Online communities,
currently a hot topic in the online world, are the
subjects of this latest offering. The book covers
the tried and true methods of building an online
community as well as offering a smidgen of advice
and personal experiences. Overall the book lays down
a good foundation. Where it falls short is in covering
the current innovations and the glitzier aspects
of the online world. We'll delve into this topic
later, but first an overview of what PR's Building
Online Communities does cover.
Building Online Communities follows the same effective format
of the other Poor Richard's books providing you with easy
to understand explanations and affordable solutions. This
book's focus is on helping you to build a community of the
grass roots variety. The topics covered are fairly broad,
but in each instance the focus is on what is the tool, how
is it used, and how can you apply it towards the task of developing
an online community.
focused on are Mailing Lists, Usenet Newsgroups, Internet
Relay Chat, and Web-Based Communities. Like the other books
in this series they assume you have very little knowledge
of these technologies and their use. Given this premise, it
provides an effective introduction to each tool and its application.
In addition, each explanation is peppered with the necessary
amount of technical information needed to accomplish the job.
covering the technologies the book focuses on growing and
managing your online community and true-life experiences.
The first topic is well covered, providing all the essential
etiquette and rational advice needed to handle most online
situations. The second area provides some brief summaries
of real life situations. These narratives provide an effective
teaching tool on how the knowledge presented can be put into
is no slouch, but there are a few areas that I would have
liked to seen beefed up. The first is in the area of real
life stories. This topic was sparsely covered in 30 pages.
Communities are more than a set of tools and a greater number
of experiences with more detail would have been a welcome
addition. The second area is in the tools covered. The ones
chosen are the primary tools used, but a section on upcoming
technologies such as voice chats, video, 3D, buddy lists,
etc., would have been a welcome addition. Last, if you are
a Poor Richard's aficionado and have read their mailing lists
and online marketing and promotion guides you should be forewarned
that many of the topics covered in this book are quite similar
to ones covered in previous books. To be fair that is simply
the nature of the topics, but never the less it is an important
factor to consider.
Poor Richard's Online Communities provides a friendly and
common sense approach to online communities. All the major
tools used for building an online community are covered. The
book takes the time to discuss what a community is (and is
not) and then presents each tool, how to use it and how it
applies to building a community. The most important part,
growing and managing your community and true-life stories
is saved to the end. If you apply the tools presented and
pay heed to the last two sections, your chances for developing
a successful online community will improve considerably.
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