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Get Open Community on Audible

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Love audiobooks? Open Community is now on Audible!

We have FIVE DOWNLOAD CODES AVAILABLE – all you need to do is drop us a comment below. Just answer any of these questions:

  • How has the growth of online community changed the way you work today?
  • Is community management part of your job? In what way?
  • How has community management changed other business processes at your org (e.g. membership recruitment, marketing, advocacy etc)?
  • Does the leadership at your organization understand the impact of online community on the future of the org? Why or why not?

HINT: Maybe this book will help. 🙂

Open Community

A little book of big ideas for associations navigating the social web

Open Community: A little book of big ideas for associations navigating the social web

Written for the complicated and quirky world of associations and membership organizations, Open Community is about how associations can—and why they should—build community online. (Not to be confused with building a successful private social network. That’s just one small part of a really big picture.)

The book is a collection of big ideas. The simple yet far-reaching concepts, framed by our own definition of Open Community, describe how to approach the inevitably long and complex process of building community online in such a way as to help your association succeed. The concepts in Open Community are actionable and applicable to any association, large or small.

“The book is fantastic and incredibly timely. It should be in the coat pocket, purse, backpack and/or shoulder bag of every board member and association management professional in the association community.

I was most impressed with [the authors’] ability to so eloquently challenge contemporary and often accepted notions of community while providing sound and reasonable approaches as to how organizations can maintain and expand their “citizens.” What we often see are open challenges to existing models without any real or grounded statements about why or how we should be changing or reexamining our existing infrastructure.” — Brian Riggs, Association Headquarters

The conversations around Open Community will continue all year on the SocialFishing blog. We hope you’ll read the book and share your stories of Open Community in action. See recent blog posts related to Open Community.

The book itself is organized around five overarching ideas, one per chapter.

Chapter 1: Open Community means collaborating with purpose.

The first chapter gives you a simple framework for figuring out how to define your Open Community strategy by starting with listening on the social web, identifying your stakeholders’ online behaviors and where they hang out, aligning individual business goals with organizational strategy, and measuring what matters to achieve success.

Chapter 2: Open Community means developing into a social organization.

The next chapter covers specific ideas for building internal organizational capacity to build and nurture Open Community, including how to prepare for the impact of social media on your internal processes, individual behaviors, and organizational culture.

Chapter 3: Open Community means embracing the ecosystem.

The third chapter describes the messy ecosystem of your Open Community: the relationship between the public social sites where your stakeholders are already hanging out and the homebase you want to attract them into, what to do about accidental spokespersons, and the importance of small groups.

Chapter 4: Open Community means empowering the periphery.

The fourth chapter discusses how to think about your people differently, in terms of the engagement lifecycle from newbie to champion, the rise of digital extroverts, the member as citizen, and how to find your champions.

Chapter 5: Open Community means participant-defined engagement.

You’ve built your online villages, you’ve opened the doors, now what? What are your members actually going to do once they get there? In the final chapter, we explain the concept of the social object and why that is crucial to the success of your Open Community. We’ll give you some simple tips for seeding and nurturing your community, too.


“If you’re an association leader, you’re already a social media genius. You just need this book to show you how to make it happen.”
Andy Sernovitz, founding CEO, Word of Mouth Marketing Association; author, Word of Mouth Marketing

“Community is much more than a buzz word in social media, it is the lifeblood of any organization. Maddie and Lindy offer an incredibly refreshing and approachable book to help you find and connect with the right people to extend your reach today and nurture online communities that work for you.”
Brian Solis, author of Engage, the complete guide for businesses to build, cultivate, and measure success in the social Web

“If your association has questions about the best and most effective ways to engage with stakeholders online, Lindy Dreyer and Maddie Grant have provided a clear and helpful guidebook to help you along the way.”
Lisa Junker, CAE, IOM, former editor-in-chief, Associations Now magazine

“For nonprofits and associations that want to build communities around their work, this book is a must-read for the guiding principles.”

Beth Kanter, author, The Networked Nonprofit, using social media to power social networks for change

“This book provides an invaluable analysis of the strategic, structural, and cultural issues associations using social media face. Leaders can read this book and come out on the other side ready to move, and not because someone ordered them and not because they are desperate to not miss the boat. Awesome.”
Jamie Notter, Consultant; author, We Have Always Done It That Way: 101 Things About Associations We Must Change, Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World



Norm DeLisle June 19, 2013 at 8:13 AM

The rise in social networking has dramatically increased contact between persons with disabilities who have access, and has meant that we could use those communities as a base for advocacy, education, and personal empowerment. It has also meant that the artificial (largely medical) borders between different disability communities are falling at a faster rate than at any time in history. All the staff here at Michigan Disability Rights Coalition would be unable to do their jobs or reach for our mission were it not for the ease of communication and the necessity of community development. The network is becoming a platform for all our community work.

Guru Rao June 19, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Yes, realizing the importance of community management has changed the way I approach my role. We are in the process of launching our corporate website that is based on building and nurturing a community of advisors, users, potential hires and powering the community via thought leadership.


Marianne Martin June 20, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Question: How has the growth of online community changed the way you work today?

Answer: I do more research online and read about different resources and then I forward the appropriate information to the departments that can use the information.

Jenae July 18, 2013 at 8:26 AM

I think the leadership at my organization is
Just realizing the power of an online community. I work for a church and help handle online media. It took a few years to get them on board ,but we are now seeing the positive effects.

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