How to Build a Social Network

Two spots left for Tuesday’s how to build a social network. It’s sort of a DIY course, at the Powerhouse Museum, as part of the WebDirections South cycle.:


People are aggegrating on the net in social networks and online communities. Successful corporate sites are moving away from static information portals and are now enabling visitors to talk to each other and contribute content using Web 2.0 tools. In this full day workshop you’ll learn all the main features of a social network as well as how to build and maintain a community online around your business. The technical tools are not enough – there are plenty of beautiful, feature rich digital graveyards out there – so let’s make sure that your social applications incorporate the greater social context!

We start by looking at the various types of purpose of a social network and then work our way through creating spaces for different types of connecting, aspects to keep in mind when developing personalisation modules and encouraging the different roleplayers in the community (volunteer and otherwise). We then move onto really enabling initiators of user generated content, developing in-depth rules of engagement (code of conduct, FAQ, newcomers welcome), moderating member forums and chat rooms, layering social texture through events and rituals and encouraging members to implement word of mouth campaigns in swarms to grow the network. At all times we are focussed on how business needs can be met by supporting an online social network.

Who is this workshop for?

This workshop will benefit anyone who is interested in building a community around their business’ online presence. To get the most out of this workshop you will be prepared to spend a day focussed on the social and community side of the Internet. This is not a technical course but a reasonable grasp of user applications such as blogs, wikis, and tagging will be assumed.

What are the learning outcomes?

By the end of the day you will be able to

  • look through a social network and pinpoint what weaknesses in purpose, spaces, personalisation, roles and so on may cause a lack or slowing of membership
  • evaluate tools and techniques for building the best possible network for your purpose
  • assist people to create personal connections and maintain relationships through your site
  • examine ways to increase number of visitors and length of stay to your site, brand recall, brand loyalty, and decrease technical and customer support through a peer-to-peer online community
  • amaze your boss and be the envy of your colleagues as you rattle of the 10 primary features of a social network, the 5 fundamental needs of supporting community and 6 tips for expanding your network

Successful online communities are not a matter of luck but rather the result of the rigorous application of these tried and tested ideas and techniques. This full day workshop will help you find your way.

*poke* You got something better to do? Oh. Work? Hmmm. Sure you aren’t missing a great opportunity? Even if I do say so myself.

By the way, are there any similar courses running in Australia? I haven’t found any so far… And no, it’s not my How To Blog course -at the end of November through the University of Sydney Centre for Continuing Education – this is social networks, not blogs!

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

8 thoughts on “How to Build a Social Network

  1. how to build a social network is a very interesting topic….I think it should be rpesented by people from the industry who have already done it to get any value – the people who created NetLog or Badoo or Bebo or Facebook int he alst year whould be good examples.

  2. Hmmm Alan, my experience comes from running massive online communities – 20-odd years of it – including citizen journalists/editors, virtual world moderators, and forum moderators. I appreciate that Facebook and the other new network products are newer and therefore sexier than mine but we work with what we’ve got. 🙂 Plus, hopefully, I can point out some of the things those networks do wrong. Sort of impartial or something.

    Those two spots were taken by the way. *waves to Ben and Jan* see y’all tomorrow. 🙂

  3. Wendy I am in Melbourne on Tuesday, for the Howard Rheingold educationau seminar. But no workshop, sorry. 🙁

    Maybe some time in the near future. 🙂

  4. Wendy (or Anonymous :P) can you please contact me on lpapworth at gmail.com or 0432 684992? I am looking at some possibilities re: Melbourne. Thanks! 🙂

  5. Can’t build a community on Ning. Not with more than 10,000 members anyway. Forums suck for a start.

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