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Directory of Communities

RD Whitney
RD builds and grows communities. He has successfully developed several Institutes creating a "home" for niche and evolving professions.
・2 min read

I am working on a directory of communities -- a place where communities can be found by focus area, function, industry, keyword search, geographic focus, etc.

Over a decade ago I used to be the CEO of www.TSNN.com (owned by www.Tarsus.com) and this was established to help people find conferences and tradeshows to attend. I think there could be some benefit of doing this now in the explosive area of communities.

First of all, has anyone come across a comprehensive directory? I came across this one, but it is limited to communities on FB, Slack, Readit, Twitter and Discord.
https://thehiveindex.com/communities/

We'd like to create something comprehensive where someone could find a community by interest area no matter what platform it is on. Has anyone come across a resource like that?

In order to create a comprehensive resource, we would need to properly define a community. We would ned to understand what listings would belong in a directory of communities. This alone feels like a difficult task, but I think it could be worthwhile to try.

Are there common denominators or particular attributes that define a community. Perhaps a membership or subscription element? Maybe a forum/peer network? Maybe if they provide content to members with the ability to contribute?

If I were looking for a thriving community in Human Resources (for example), I'd want to know about www.SHRM.com or www.HR.com but what qualifies an online resource as a community vs a publishing or media site -- or are they all communities?

What do you think about all this? Can we define community enough to be able to create a directory of communities?

Discussion (4)

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kenwallace profile image
Ken Wallace

Hey there! This is a great idea. 🙂

The Hive Index is actually a great start. The Hive Index has no platform limitations, and it includes communities regardless of platform.

In the footer of The Hive is this link to platforms included, where you’ll see 130+ communities in their index on “independent platforms”, meaning those who don’t use the usual suspect platforms you mentioned.

In my opinion the problem with something like The Hive Index is that the topics the various communities are categorized into are fairly startup-centric.

If I had, say, a community devoted to mothers who run ultra marathons, or chefs navigating the transition from cooking school to obtaining their first kitchen jobs, I’m not sure where The Hive Index could bucket those. I’m sure the list of topics is flexible, but it’s not clear what the process is like to request a new topic for a new community submitted to the list. It’s concerning enough that some folks might be deterred from submitting their community.

If someone were to start a new directory of communities, you’d need to keep this in mind, and be sure to understand how the categorization of the communities initially added to the list can affect the communities submitted later to the list.

There are also a number of paid-access community indexes. A recent one I’ve seen is Community List

For both the paid and unpaid (free) community indexes and directions, my question is this: who’s it for? Who is perusing this list? Other community managers evaluating competition? People just looking for a community around their hobby, occupation, or interest?

I’m not sure The Hive Index has a good answer to that question. Or rather, it’s not clear from their site that they do (in my opinion).

Your answer to that question is key, because it informs the site design, your data collection, and your entire business model.

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rdwhitney profile image
RD Whitney Author

Thank you Ken. Your questions are spot on. I envisioned this directory to be a place where people could locate communities by topic, geography, etc. So mainly used by people looking for a community around their hobby, occupation or interest. However, I think it would also be useful for community managers to be aware of their competition.

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joaquin_cahiza profile image
Joaquin

Hey RD!
Nice to meet you.

A few months ago we found the same problem you are talking about and decided to create a directory of communities.

We understood that there wasn't one that fulfilled all the requirements and we believed that bringing that value to the user could be very useful when choosing a community.

As for the differentiation to understand which is a community, in our case we understood that when a group of people get together with a common interest and perform recurring activities whether paid or free, they are a community.
A problem that sometimes arises is to be able to differentiate a course/program from a community itself.

We are still in the process of developing the directory and it is always good to have feedback from community managers/builders and also from other entrepreneurs.

We are going to keep updated this great community about our project!
Love to connect and collaborate together.
Regards

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rdwhitney profile image
RD Whitney Author

Great. I'll check it out!