Social networking on the Internet is tough. Even physical networking is not easy, given that modern life puts so many time pressures on all individuals. Google with Orkut tried to provide an infrastructure that would facilitate what I like to call InternetWorking, but most seem to say it doesn’t work for them. The only places that seem to function reasonably well are some of the Forums. I believe they only work well because of the moderation that works behind the scenes to keep things roughly on track.
I’m aware of, and visit from time to time, five of the major Forums in the Internet Marketing/Search Engine Marketing cyberspace. Each of them has different characteristics and it’s intriguing to observe the dynamics of such bodies. Four of them are very much the creatures of their creators. These creators are strong-minded individuals who have put enormous personal energy and time in creating each of their impressive entities. The fifth is somewhat different. I’m speaking of the Cre8asite Forums, of which I am a moderator.
As it happens, over the last two months, three of the five forums including Cre8asite have lost some significant moderators. In the other cases, I am not privy to what were the reasons but personality differences with the founders may have been part of it. Cre8asite displays different dynamics. It would not be at all appropriate for me to reveal what goes on behind the scenes, so I present my views solely as a member. Sadly there’ve been some moderator departures recently with the most prominent being Grumpus (Stockbridge Truswell). He is a tower of technical strength and his moderating skills will be sorely missed, although I’m sure he’ll still be visible as a member. Luckily another strong performer, RustyBrick (Barry Schwartz), has just joined the moderating team. So Cre8asite rolls forward with renewed vigour.
Many have commented that there is something different about the Cre8asite model. I believe it’s the strong sense of community, which was engendered right from the beginning by the character of the individuals involved. Three of the most prominent were Cre8pc (Kim Krause Berg), Bragadocchio (Bill Slawski) and Black_Knight (Ammon Johns). Although Bragadocchio outstrips all in the number of his posts (soon to exceed 10,000), he is only one, albeit important, member of a very thriving community.
That’s an important word, community. You might think something like the Cre8asite Forums requires a lot of energy on the part of the administration. Your mental picture might be like a theatre performance I remember from my youth. It’s called the spinning plates routine. It involves the performer getting 60 or more porcelain dinner plates spinning on the top of an array of flexible bamboo rods. If you can’t get the mental picture then Andrew Van Buren is still doing it. Keeping all those plates spinning in the air requires the performer to be ever vigilant for a plate that is losing momentum and requires a little twirl to get it going again. It’s an act that’s extremely tiring to watch.
The Cre8ative community is much more relaxing. The administration and moderators provide only a small part of the energy input. Most of it comes from the members of the community. There are many “big names” that stop by from time to time and chip in. There are even more who stop by and just watch what’s going on, without necessarily revealing themselves on that occasion. At any given time there will be three or more times as many ‘lurkers’ as there are those who have clocked in. Even allowing for the search engine spiders that visit frequently, it’s still a great crowd of interested and interesting folk. In consequence, that community spirit is almost self-perpetuating. It takes only a small amount of Cre8tive moderation to keep all those plates spinning, since everyone seems to get involved.