Discovering the Community Backchannel

4 May

I was initially confused about the Community Backchannel’s purpose. They self-identify as The Community BackChannel is a community of peers focused on the management and development of online communities

If they are indeed trying to be an online community for online community managers, then that’s just peachy. We need that, using modern tools. The fact is, The OC Tribe is an offline meetup with a mailing list and a hashtag that tie us together between monthly gatherings. We have some speakers, we talk community best practices, but we don’t really try out tools and discuss them.

The Community Backchannel has the potential to be a virtual sandbox to play with tools and share our favorites. So far, it seems that it has a free version that you have to apply for membership (which is a bit odd) and then they will base their membership on a premium model.

They started with all the components in place, a Twitter account, Facebook page, hashtag…CHECK.

I have no problem with yet another web 2.0 collaborative trying to make money, but I wish they wouldn’t brand themselves as a nonprofit community for community managers. At first glance that is not what they appear to be (at least to me.) In fact, it’s kind of difficult to figure out what they are, since the BackChannel is embedded in a larger framework of the Information Week’s Brainyard community for social biz.

Here’s an article describing the backchannel:
Looking for a Community for Community Managers?

Here’s the actual site for the backchannel:
Community BackChannel

What are your initial thoughts?

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One Response to “Discovering the Community Backchannel”

  1. Ted Hopton May 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks for checking out the Community BackChannel! I’m a founder and member of the Community BackChannel board of directors, so I’m happy to respond to your questions.

    1. The Community BackChannel is not a business, it’s not trying to make money, and it never will. We make that very clear in our — see paragraph #11: “The CBC is not a business and shall not conduct any commercial activity.”

    2. The Community BackChannel is hosted within The BrainYard Community, which is part of Information Week’s network of websites. However, the Community BackChannel is not owned or controlled by any corporate entity. We’ve explained this in our document titled, . The BrainYard Community *is* a business site, of course, but it will host groups like the Community BackChannel that are not businesses. Think of it like WordPress or Blogger, where I have blogs that do not make money, but they are hosted on sites which are profit-making businesses.

    3. There will be no change in the Community BackChannel’s membership model. There’s no membership fee and there will not be one. We are not doing this to make money. We’re online community professionals who want to have the kind of community for ourselves that we have created and run for our own organizations — and we are not quitting our day jobs! This is strictly a volunteer effort all around.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts about the Community BackChannel, and if you’d like to discuss further I’d be happy do that with you. I’d also be interested in talking with you about how the OCTribe could coordinate efforts with the Community BackChannel. We’re very interested in partnering with existing organizations and doing what we can to support their own efforts to support online community professionals.

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