Sun micro-community sites: a good idea?

A sprawling web site like Sun.com is a large enough ecosystem where microsite off-shoots are inevitable. It makes sense — provide a web experience tailored around a new product or service.

Since this is the Participation Age, it's natural to expect collaboration and customer interaction on a microsite, like GM's notorious ChevyApprentice.com, where you could create your very own Chevy Tahoe commercial.

Sun recently launched a microsite, the HPC Community Portal that invites participation for those interested in high performance computing topics. So far, so good.

What got my attention is the site's community features. For example, I can create new blog and forum posts, add new pages, and comment on existing pages. Basically, all the cool tools I need to create content and collaborate with others are provided.

Wait a minute ... doesn't Sun already provide some of those tools to me, through blogs.sun.com, wikis.sun.com, and forums.sun.com?

Are my contributions to the HPC Community Portal shared with people I've already connected with on these community venues? Are people most likely to discover me through my participation on the HPC Community Portal, or through established Sun communities?

Starting a new community is hard. It takes time, lots of dedication, and commitment at all levels — starting with the community owners and extending to it's leaders and members.

Why not integrate into existing communities? Wikinomics tells us that like free electrons gravitate to the center of an atom, so too do established community ecosystems attract the most participants.

Using existing Sun community platforms and infrastructure yields the most participants, knowledge, and value. Community efforts like HPC Community Portal, though well-intentioned, don't benefit from the critical mass already established, and face a much-tougher challenge to attract and retain participation.

Comments:

You've articulated the holistic thinking approach really well. People that interact with Sun benefit if the interaction is cohesive across organizations, topics of interests, products purchased and many other possible interactions a customer could have. A community engagement is no different. When Sun launches these niche communities they end up competing with each other making them much less likely to be relevant. That doesn't help Sun and it could so easily be corrected. Good luck!

Posted by Jen b. on November 30, 2007 at 04:44 PM MST #

Thank for the comment, and for your support!

Posted by Lou Ordorica on December 03, 2007 at 06:08 AM MST #

It seams like needs its own "Open Social" standard for publishing and aggregating the different community content created on its many different microsites.

Posted by Danny H on December 03, 2007 at 06:36 AM MST #

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Lou Ordorica's thoughts on community development and social media in corporate settings. A fair smattering of geeky topics, too!

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