I’m currently doing a bit of a discovery/consultation process within my org to figure out our community conceptualization… and one of the challenges we have to answer is whether it makes more sense to have one single global community space, or many regional community spaces. It is a community of action/practice in community organizing, for an advocacy organization on climate change.
Does anyone have advice to offer?
In a global space, we’d have the advantage of having me as a single community manager, and the excitement of sharing knowledge across boundaries… but we would be limited to people who speak english only (often as a second language) and I’d be worried that the space becomes dominated with people from the anglo world (Australia, US, Canada, UK…), which might mean that non-anglophone folks drop out. Also, because of the different political contexts between, say, Germany and Indonesia, people mightn’t be so easily able to connect with each other and share meaningful advice.
The alternative, supporting a set of regional communities, would mean that my role is less about managing a community myself, and more about training a set of our regional staff to do so. So the process of getting communities going would be slower, and there would be more of a risk that those regional staff get pulled away from the communities into other local advocacy work, rather than having people dedicated to just managing the community alone. But advantages include more of a shared identity and purpose within the community, and all information being available in their local language. We just might miss opportunities for sharing the best content across regional boundaries.
Such a hard decision! I’m consulting a lot on this question within our organization, but wanted to ask here as well in case other community managers had input or advice to share!