What I mean to say is that, the vision we all had of the online Community is dead, or rather it’s evolved. This means that all those Community links in the primary or secondary navs linking off to separate and contained communities are a thing of the past.
Many sites that have communities have been operating under the false assumption that their Community needs to exist separately from their editorial content. Other sites who did realize the disconnect still didn’t take the time to seamlessly integrate Community features into their existing experience. The result is many of the communities we see today, bolted on as an afterthought in an attempt at social due-diligence, but not a true or seamless social integration. Those are the communities of the past. The brands and agencies who’ve had the foresight to realize the disconnect AND have also taken the necessary steps to address it have created what you see below: a seamless integration between content and Community.
This is a purely music-oriented site but the great thing is that artists and listener profiles are comingled. Musician profiles are called out via a different look but they sit alongside the listener’s profiles. Additionally, the flow of the sight evokes a sense of social seamlessness that can’t be mirrored in the old Community model. You move from song, to artists, to other listeners and their comments on the song. It’s so intuitive that you feel like the site has Artificial Intelligence; but really it’s simply an online Community that makes sense.
This is what a truly social Community should be. That means: content consumption, comments, ratings and mood polling are all part of a unified, holistic experience. Editorial content flows nicely into UGC as opposed to having all the UGC, profiles, groups and forums contained in a silo, separate and removed from the meat of the site. The goal is to have all these key features stitched together in a way that is highly functional and makes sense.