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When you try to "sell" online communities to larger organisations, you often meet a psychogical problem that may be summarized in this sentence:
- What if they say what I think they think?
This page gathers ideas about this problem and how to overcome it. As the problem is rather new, it is natural that no final article can be written. No silver bullet yet. Maybe we're able to write it during the next few years.
- larger corporations
- political parties
Reasons for the problem
- A bad conscience or at least an insecurity about the quality of their products or services.
- Lack of knowledge about what an online community is, how it works and how it can be dealt with (in the past an OC was typically just seen as a way to bind customers in a superficial way).
- The typical way of the "large guys" to deal with the public is through professional PR that builds and maintains a special image.
- The image is more or less distant from reality. It seems simpler to build an image than to actually live up to it.
- The organisations feel better when they control what is said and who is allowed to say it. Even newspapers will write about important customers with care.
A few thoughts:
- The PR people might just put the "online community" into their tool set. Build knowledge about this medium and use it.
- If organisation want to be present in online communities, they must enable at least some people to represent them in a personal and credible way. A speaker that presents "official statements" is just not enough.
Arguments for online communities
- new ways of collaboration and feedback can improve the organisation
- the innovation will activate the organisation (only the early bird)
- online communities will come anyway, the sooner the smoother the transition