What is Community?

What is Community?

With the rise of social media, "community" has become a ubiquitous term.  This topic attempts to define community, its principals and relevent nuances including impact to the information experience around Microsoft technology.

Community is made up of individuals who have a shared interest in a particular topic or technology.
Community is a give and take relationship. It only works when one contributes as well as receives.
Community is about learning. One learns best by helping others to achieve their potential.
Community is about fun. One learns best in a fun atmosphere.
Community is both virtual and local. Community user groups are a great way to become involved.


There are a few core principles that drive successful community participation:

  • Community is valuable to individuals, business and groups.
  • Individuals are smart, but communities are wise.
  • Act with transparency and honesty. Share your identity and affiliations.
  • Respond with alacrity, engage with gusto.
  • Be a great host and honor your community. Be an exceptional guest and respect established rules and guidelines.
  • Set expectations early in the relationship. Deliver on them.
  • Personality trumps marketing. Champion a balanced point of view.
  • Respect business, group and individual needs for privacy and confidentiality.
  • Contribute honestly, accurately and boldly.

Individual communities have local principles, so spend time listening before jumping into the conversation.


There are many different perspectives on community, from definitions and purpose to evolution, power and trust factors. Below are some of the references that either informed this article or serve as background reading or extensions.

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