Community of Interest

From Sl Wiki

A Community of Interest can be defined as any grouping of people sharing a common interest or purpose. As people are not one-dimensional, they will usually be candidate members of many communities of interest.

Pre-web, and indeed in web1.0, the most prevalent Community of Interest was the User Group. User groups were established to provide a forum and means of communication between suppliers and their user community. In simple terms - A User Group is primarily a consumer of content.

As the web progressed and email, newsgroups and forums matured, so the SIG - or Special Interest Group - emerged. This no longer needed to be aligned to specific product or service suppliers. Reflecting the wide range of shared interests, the number of SIGs far outstripped the old User Groups. Further, as they were not aligned with specific suppliers, they covered all aspects of human life. In simple terms - A SIG is primarily a sharer of content.

The arrival of web2.0 has seen the Community of Interest moving more centre stage, with User Generated Content forming a distinct extension on the operation of SIGs. In simple terms - in web2.0, the Community of Interest has become a generator of content.

Second Life is most closely aligned with the concept of the SIG. Residents can be members of many (though not limitless) Second Life Groups, or Communities of Interest. They can converse as a group using Instant Messaging, or meet at a common location for (virtual) face-to-face conversation. They can raise concerns and vote on issues pertinent to the group.

They also can function as a target audience for marketing messages. Suppliers establish guest groups as a means of fostering communication and to provide them with a marketing channel. However, the use of the latter facility needs to be considered very carefully. Inappropriate or excessive use for marketing will almost certainly lead to a high level of disaffection, and the group will wither and die.

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