Online communities and social networks could look like similar things, but there are some differences. A social network is the environment in which the different pre-established interpersonal relationships are maintained. In a social network, users add people to the friend lists and communicate with them. It is also an ideal option for sharing videos and photos. Here, end users are congratulate other users on important events and dates. No special requirement is put before the members.
All you need to do is have a social network account, few friends for communicating with. A social network is have people from different parts of the world. People love to make use of this platform as it is an ideal option for connecting people with different multi-level connections. Also, communication on social networks have high personalization. Here people are seen to share a wide array of personal details. In social networks, people often know one other in person and not just online.
The online community, on the other hand, is a totally different thing. People joining the community have something or the other in common. The online communities are specially created with an eye to gathering people around a specific brand, product or social information. Here, the users know each other rarely in person prior to joining on the portal. People join the community primarily due to the fact that they do not want to share related information with their friends. On the other hand, they search for communication on a specific collaboration, subject, advice, and help. They have specific goals which let them join the communities.
Social networks vs. Online communities
Online communities and social networks share few common grounds such as both of them exist online. Both of them are places in which end users discover content as well as other people. They fall in the blurry lines which define the social business platforms.
It is essentially the world of information and individuals. The social network is used for connecting people. Such platform encourages relationships, interactions as well as connections between people. Here people look for individual relationships with the brand.
The social network is the higher development phase of the community. For instance, Facebook is one of the leading social networks today. Furthermore, it is formed by the communities of universities and colleges. LinkedIn, on the other hand, happens to be the communication between professional societies and communities. At a later off phase, both the giants grew into the social networks in which members of the first communities begin to expand the circle and develop relationships. Thus the community is the basis whereas the social network is the superstructure.
Communities that focus on the objective of marketing need a lot of attention from the managers and owners. For the performance of functions and prosperity of the online community, people, organizing the community need to put extensive efforts for luring the potential customers. In order to retain the customers and make them active members, the organizers need to focus on enhancing customer loyalty, popularizing the brand, generating leads, etc. Different dedicated leaders need to support and spice the community life. They are also well aware how they engage the audience into a nonintrusive conversation, primarily if the community focuses on the development of a new idea, unknown product, or the small group.
The major difference between online communities and social networks
A major difference between online communities and social networks is that to create communities is need a group of people from different histories and backgrounds. It can be said from the anthropological and social standpoint, that they are an integral thing to study owing to the fact that they comprise of people who have never seen each other. They, however, join the community with a specific goal or interest. People are joining the community for different types of reasons. The members of the community share a preference for a similar lifestyle or thing.
What is important?
You need to keep in mind that almost anything may bring a specific group of people together. However, it is polarizing that makes individuals stay. There are only two things which allow the members of the online community to stay. The perception that members will reap certain benefits from the community. Also, the urge to contributing to the community contributes to being the two prime reasons which compel the members to stay. Apart from retaining the group of specific relative strangers and compartmentalizing, online communities overlap one another and nest with each other. In summary, the major difference between online communities and social networks happens to be the origin of connection. If you create connection offline, it is a social network. On the other hand, if the connection was created, it is certainly an online community.
Here are the highlights of the difference between online communities and social networks
They are similar together by a specific topic or interest. Any individual can become a part of the community. The online communities are characterized by nested structure and more complex overlapping. On the other hand, social network have connection via the pre-established interpersonal connections. Here, every connection has a social network of its own. They are characterized by the spiderweb-like network structure.
Moreover, communities require activities for their survival. It is a prerequisite that the online communities require members of the community for starting a discussion around a wide array of topics as well as responses to the discussions. They also need the members for the creation of content along with comments as well as sharing of the content. On the other hand, people primarily use social networks to stay in touch with friends and family. Online communities share the ground on how the offline communities develop.
For instance, the offline communities share interests like the interest in the sport, values, instead of any sort of individual connection.