What’s the difference between community & social networks?

@peggyhoffman What did you say? Sort of like how many SN friends to screw in a light bulb before you light the town?

Ha ha! We were talking about community vs. social network on Twitter. That tweet from Cynthia D’Amour made the point.

Something else Cynthia said generated a RT from @maggielmcg Community is the what; social networking the how. (via @CynthiaDAmour)

Actually the conversation started at the ASAE Components Section Council Meeting this week and morphed into a Twitter conversation.

It’s an important question for us to ask as we considering what makes community in our associations? We have “legacy” communities (think chapters, special interest groups etal) from the past and the “new” communities (think virtual chapters, discussion groups, online groups). What’s different and what’s the same? How do we measure success and for that matter how do support them?

The bottom line for associations is that we either develop community or we perish. As one council member described it in her association members are forming groups and coming to them with programming and an agenda. Either the association welcomes them and gives them a home or they shop elsewhere. The platforms are a dime a dozen but the edge we still can have is the ability to connect members in a way that reduces the “search” for each to find the other.

So really it’s about outcomes. It’s about engagement. It’s not about bylaws. It’s not about structure. It really it function before form.

So when you’re thinking of your chapters, SIGs, CoP, Sections, online groups – are focused on structure or on outcome?