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Law #3: Virtual communities need physical interaction

While technology has dramatically expanded the possibilities for global communities operating in a virtual mode, with members scattered around the world communicating seamlessly by email and the world wide web, many organizations have found it difficult to launch communities without initial face-to-face meetings of at least some of the members. We don't know of any true communities in which a portion of the members do not periodically get together in person, see each other face-to-face, look each other in the eye, sniff each other out, and interact so as to establish the bonds of trust and affinity that are needed in communities. Without such face-to-face meetings, most organizations have found it difficult to get communities even started. Once a community has been launched, the absence of periodic face-to-face time leads to entropy, as the community starts to lose energy, and eventually dies.

Co-authors: Michel Pommier, Lesley Shneier, Stephen Denning

Reference: See Stephen Denning, The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations. Boston, London, Butterworth Heinemann, October 2000.

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