Search is hands-off community monitoring, and joining communities only grants you more visibility if you’re entering a walled garden you couldn’t otherwise access. If you really want to see what’s going on within a community, you need to help it form. As moderator, you’ll have access to more details about the community than you would have as an outsider or even a member.
Many community platforms let you set up subgroups within the community and manage membership. The only problem with running or moderating a community, rather than joining an existing one, is convincing others to join it.
People will join your community if it provides value or gives them information they can’t get elsewhere. For example, Dell runs a mailing list to which they send special offers. Subscribers get discounts, and Dell can drive traffic to its site and dispose of overstock.
Similarly, people will visit a forum, Facebook group, or IRC chatroom if they know they’ll get access to subject matter experts or celebrities.
Google Groups, MSN Groups, and Yahoo! Groups all offer hosted tools to create and moderate a mailing list (Figure 14-29). Unless you have specific privacy or security needs that require you to manage your own mailing systems, consider these services. Not only will they let you control access to the mailing lists, they’ll also remove the burden of things like spam blocking and unsubscribe requests. Additionally, the group directories that ...