In the early stages we rely heavily on mainstream media for the fuel that drives discussion within our communities but as communities grow they begin to generate their own organic content. After a certain point a communities becomes self perpetuating requiring very little news to be injected.
The organic content often at times becomes the news or a part of the news. Reporters use our communities to sniff out news leads, once they find this within the organic content news articles are written and published. This is not always the case but a fair amount of organic content is unique and valuable to news agencies.
Although each community is unique they all follow a certain pattern when growing. I’ll map out how a community generally grows.
1-1000 members: there is very little discussion or posts being made by members, news if often injected to stimulate discussion. Mods and admins continue to post news until discussion becomes more common. The process of pruning back posts that did not catch on does help consolidate activity and give the appearance of a more active community.
1000-2000 members: This is the turning point as many groups at about 1500 members start to show more discussion and activity while beginning to generate organic posts. Less news needs to be posted. Some communities will begin to become self perpetuating in this stage.
2000-3000 Members: This is a turning point for most groups, activity levels are up, organic content is becoming more common. Mainstream media news and content becomes less common but still a part of the communities from time to time. Majority of communities at this point are self perpetuating although stimulus may still be required depending.
3000-5000 Members: Communities within this stage are self perpetuating and does not need to have news injected. Organic content becomes a regular thing as members feel that the community is a good place for their message to be heard. Moderation becomes more difficult as conflicts and issues with members starts to become a thing. At this point a community will need at least 2-4 mods to manage the day to day.
5000-7000 Members: At this point communities are in their prime, organic content is very common and little if any external news is required. Moderation of community becomes more difficult and the team will require a certain level or coordination to keep the atmosphere from becoming negative.
7000+ Members: Beyond this point it becomes difficult to keep the quality atmosphere that generates the best organic content. Mods and admins will need to be added to the team and will need to coordinate their efforts to handle the ongoing conflicts and issues that arise in a large community as such. If atmosphere is maintained the content from these communities is quite exceptional.
Essentially we strive to keep our communities at 5000-7000 members as this is where the quality of content is the best and the moderation to content output ratio is most ideal. It’s really about quality over quantity.