Network/online communities refers to a group of people with a common interest in using the internet to discuss issues. They make use of social platforms, emails and blogs to pursue a common goal. Unlike real-life communities, network communities are not restricted to one location. They’ve transformed the world into a global village.
Network work communities have not only brought like-minds together, they have played a part in the overall decision making of companies. Views and suggestions shared provide much needed insight in making proper decisions. Their influence can be felt in every aspect of our lives, from health to sports.
For example, football fans are able to share ideas and contribute to football matters, regardless of their location. People are able to form networks that are relevant based on their interests.
The Sharing economy focuses on the use of underused assets, whether monetized or not. It brings about efficiency and sustainability. A good example is the car-sharing service offered by Uber and Lyft. You’re able to rent out the car that you rarely use to the company, and in return, the company pays you a commission based on the number of trips the car has taken on that day.
The online community is able to include millennial and older age groups in key decision making. Millennials are well versed in the use of smartphones and spend a lot of their time online. Therefore, a study that targets them is likely to be successful when carried out through online communities.
Unlike real-life communities, anyone can access a network community from any location and at any time. Members can network even after a conference is over and share ideas that can revolutionize a company.
Members join online/network communities for insights and information. Society is able to benefit from the myriad of information shared by other community members about specific topics.
Members who reach out to online/network communities for help, benefit from a sense of satisfaction when their problem is solved. The member who gives a solution in return has his or her self-esteem boosted due to the service offered. Those who constantly contribute to community discussions build their reputation due to their helpful contributions.
Millions of jobs have been created since the adoption of the sharing economy. People around the world have been employed by companies such as Uber1. Freelancers have been connected to clients through sites such as Upwork. Freelancer, 99 designs etc.
A decade ago, the only option one had to get capital was the bank. For banks, funding startups and small businesses is termed as risky. Therefore, brilliant ideas were left to die away. But thanks to the advent of crowdsourcing companies such as Zetto1, you can easily get the capital you need to start a business.
Sharing economy facilitates an environment where ideas that once seemed impossible, are now doable. For example, people are able to sell their products from home through sites such as Amazon. Sharing economy will in future force behemoth companies to collaborate for increased business opportunities and job creation.
Examples of online/network communities2:
Examples of the sharing economy3:
Network communities have not only enabled sharing of relevant information but also contributed to the production of quality products and offering of world-class services. Companies refer to views and suggestions from customers to make such decisions. The sharing economy has led to creation of jobs leading to the reduction of poverty and improving social mobility.