Free Trial

Safari Books Online is a digital library providing on-demand subscription access to thousands of learning resources.

Share this Page URL

13. Demand Respect > 13. Demand Respect - Pg. 118

118 Design to thrive: Creating social networks and online Communities One technique that can be used to help new members have influence in the community and avoid the negative stigma attached to their initial attempts to participate in the group is to create a special area or special events intended exclusively for new members of the community. Your Leaders and Elders can create webinars, Second Life gatherings, special forums, and other events where new members of the community can connect with other new members of the community and get answers to their special questions while still benefiting from the institutional memories of Elders and Leaders. 12. gIve elDers opportunItIes Just as novices need a special place to avoid being ridiculed as "newbies" and still have their influence needs addressed, Elders also have influence needs that need to be addressed. As Kim says, it's important to "honor your elders" ([2], 147). Unfortunately, Elders can become a bit of a bore in a community if they aren't given sanctioned opportunities to have influence. They can tell the same stories over and over, damaging both themselves and other members of the community or, worse, they can turn into morality police and inappropriately chastise other members of the community for failing to live up to the cultural and social norms of the group. They can even undermine and challenge the authority of advisory councils if their influence needs aren't being met. Fortunately, there are many extremely positive ways you can find for Elders to contribute and have influence in the communities. For example, I have created interviews and podcasts with Elders in communities that I have maintained in order to draw attention to the contributions of some of the Elders in the community. Although my commu- nities are usually closed and private communities, a good example of these is Tamara Adkins' online interviews with leaders in the user experience commu- nity (Figure 5.13). Because Elders are interested in maintaining relationships with others in their fields rather than focusing on content-oriented conversations, posting Second Life meetings, online chats, cocktail parties at professional face-to-face confer- ences, and other similar events is an important means of giving Elders opportu- nities to have their influence needs met. 13. DeManD respeCt The leadership in the community, the Elders, the administrators, and anyone charged with monitoring the tone of messages that are exchanged, must demand at all times and without equivocation that members treat other members with respect. Trust is the glue that holds communities and social networks together, and disrespect dissolves the glue of trust more corrosively than any acid. You must train your Leaders, your advisory council members, your moderators, and your system administrators to respond immediately to disrespectful language. Recently, one of my advisory councils and I had to address a situation that broke out in a listserv community that we've been maintaining now since the