Mathew Lowry

I need three speakers for a EuropCom2015 workshop to share their thoughts on convening and managing communities in the context of public communications and policymaking.

The following throwaway remark on Linkedin landed me with the task of setting up a workshop at EuropCom 2015:

“I’d suggest combining “Setting-up and managing online communities” and “The power of events”, as the single best way of setting up and reinforcing an online community is to couple it with an event, and the best way of holding a brilliant event is to make it the physical manifestation of an online community. Finally, it’s time EU communications got its head around Storytelling…”

EuroPCom 2015 call for proposals: first harvest (LinkedIn)

Serves me right I guess.

Update (June 30): the workshop has a name (“Online Communities: More Than a Comms Tactic”) and EuropCom2015 has a site.

Not about the past

This year’s workshop format is up to three speakers plus yours truly. Moreover, the organisers don’t want too much about community-event integration. Together that should stop me dragging out that story about building online communities in 2002 again.

Which is good, because things have changed a lot since the pre-Web2.0 era, when we thought we were simply building interactive websites. Classical, web-based online communities seem to have declined as steeply as blog comments (example), as users move (or are moved?) en masse to mass slacktivism on social media platforms interested only in selling them on to advertisers.

Moreover, many of the community managers I speak to these days seem to confuse Community with Communications, Participation with Shares & Mentions. A notable exception being the participants at last year’s EuropCom:

“… we had a good discussion about projects which confuse ‘participation’ with ‘communications’. Participation projects need communications, and moreover are good to communicate … But a communications project which masquerades as a participation project will fail at both…”

Participation Success Factors: a quick followup

Communities are participative – noone joins one to have their awareness raised.

Seeking case studies & speakers

While I have a couple of other personal examples more recent than 2002, I’d prefer just to facilitate the workshop and focus on good examples I don’t know about, preferably from further afield than the Brussels Bubble.

So drop me if you have – or know of – online community case studies from national and regional governments, private companies or EU Institutions.

To prevent any perception of conflict of interest, the EuropCom organisers will help choose which case studies are invited to take part in the workshop.

Further reading





Author :


  1. Hi Mathew,

    Share Europe Online (local social media communication in 28 EU countries, Feb 2013-Feb 2015) is certainly relevant to the topic of “managing communities in the context of public communications and policymaking”. We also amassed plenty of evidence to support your assertion about online-offline synergies as a key community-building strategy.

    You know where to find me.

Comments are closed.