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January 27, 2004 » 11:35 pm

Sheldon Chang’s SocialWave Blog

Sheldon Chang, a member of our Collaboration Collaboratory, recently announced a new blog: SocialWeaver: Building Real Communities Online. Sheldon has a startup called SocialWave that builds online communities as a way to strengthen communities within neighborhoods. He’s thought quite a bit about community-building in general and has a lot of interesting things to say, which is why I’m very glad to see him join the blogosphere.    (W1)

In his first post, “A Real Model for the Virtual Community,” Sheldon suggests that people must feel comfortable to build their online identities in order for an online community to be successful. This requirement prevents effective online communities from truly scaling.    (W2)

Sheldon’s blog entry generated some discussion in the collaboratory. John Sechrest discussed latent energy in forums, emphasizing the role that lurkers play in the effectiveness of an online community. He also posed and elaborated a theory of group size: The maximum size of a manageable community is 256 people. (Ross Mayfield described a more scientific theory of group size, based on Robin Dunbar’s research, at his talk last November.)    (W3)

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