I first arrived at Lunch in December 2008 after being sent an invite. I stayed, left and came back in March of 2009. I recall the first thing I thought in December being, "What's the point of this?" And then as the website evolved I began to love Lunch. It has become the equivalent of checking my email or my facebook page. I come to the site everyday and mingle on the site everyday, observing other members and reading reviews. I went on a trip in March of 2010 and when I returned from that trip I was surprised to see all the communities up and running. If Lunch is about feeding your curiosity, then the communities seem to be about finding the right table. Imagine, if you will, that you're in a cafeteria but don't know where to sit. There are lots of people and each table is talking about something different. At one table they're talking about Books, at another they're talking about Movies. Oh, but it gets better. Perhaps some are talking about Inspriations while others focus on just plain old Awesomeness.
The communities on Lunch allow you to, more or less, visit another section of Lunch. You might think of them as smaller websites all under a larger website. Whichever community (or communities) you choose to go to, you can start contributing. Each community is run by a member of Lunch.com, and they are the ones in charge of their community. They can say what goes there and what does not. They can also send out updates and messages to all members of their community whenever they so choose. It's pretty much like being in charge of your own website. Once again, it gets better: Just about anyone can create a community and start adding data points to that particular community. Thanks to the fact that you can create Data Points as well, you get even more time to really shape just what it is your community is going to be about. Those who connect and communicate with their members will see their communities change. While there aren't any really large communities right now, there are already over 100 to choose from, and the communities feature has been running (as of this writing) only a month.
So what does it mean to run, organize and be a part of a community? Simple: Each community is run by a member. When you join a community, it has its own homepage. It's still a part of the main Lunch.com website (if you want to go back to the default homepage) but it's important to realize it's still its own site. It has it's own URL. There is, for example: www.lunch.com and then there is say... http://www.lunch.com/overhypedmovies if you want to go directly to the community: To Belive or Not To Believe The Hype. Once you join a community, there is a quick overview as to what the community stands for. The interface is exactly as Lunch's own interface. The difference between a community and the overall scope, however, is that there is someone actually in charge of the community. And often he or she will be there to tell you exactly what they want from the community. For example, your community manager might mention something like, "Be sure to mention _______" in your review. It sounds complex, but if you're just a contributor, there's hardly anything complex about it. For the most part, you'll be able to go about reviewing like you normally would. The difference is that when you review each datapoint now, you have the option of dumping that review in any community you chose to be a part of. Or, if that datapoint is already a part of that community, it goes there automatically.
There can sometimes be a bit of confusion. For example if you're on the Main Lunch.com website... all the reviews will always show up under any datapoint. If you are in one of the communities, however, then only the reviews from that community will actually show up under the datapoint. Confused? Well, it's not that confusing. Let's take a look at two different communities. First, there's Only WDWorld and let's continue using To Believe or Not to Believe The Hype. Both of these communities contain the datapoint Alice in Wonderland. Depending on which community you view this datapoint in will make a difference between how many reviews you see on the datapoint page. The original link I gave you is nagivating to that datapoint WITHOUT actually being in any community.
Here is what the Datapoint looks like from within the Only WDWorld community.
And here is what it looks like from the To Believe or Not to Believe the Hype community.
Notice the difference? Allow me to point it out. In the first example (Only WDWorld) the community has only one review of Alice in Wonderland. In the second example (To Believe or Not to Believe the Hype) there are three. Likewise, there are eight total reviews. If one is in a community and three are in the other... then that means four of those reviews aren't in a community at all. My only point with this is to express that the reviews under each datapoint are sorted by community as well. Exploring the Alice in Wonderland datapoint under one community will give you different results than exploring it in another. Let's say someone creates a community for Tim Burton... well, Alice in Wonderland would have no reviews in that community yet until someone decides to place (or move) a review to that community should it ever exist.
And here is where talking about communities actually becomes slightly painful. If there's one thing I wish Lunch would allow its user to do, it would be to post the same review in two different communities. Allow me to explain. I run a community called The Gaming Hub while @Squintz runs a community called Nintendo Wii Games. Our communities can share datapoints but they CAN'T share reviews. So if I post a review about a Wii game in The Gaming Hub... that same review cannot be posted in Nintendo Wii Games... even though the datapoints are the same. It can actually be frustrating because it has caused needless competition among certain communities. I've yet to be asked to move a review from one community to another, but I've seen members ask other members to do so in an effort to make sure their community gets more hits than another. It can actually be a little annoying from time to time to realize that you're a member of two communities, but can't contribute to them equally. But more annoying than being unable to post two of the same review in two different communities is that certain members have turned it into competition. I imagine Woopak must get more review requests than Jesus receives prayers these days.
Aside from that, however, the communities actually work out really nicely. I talked about being a contributor... now let's talk about managing, because that is slightly different.
If you do not yet have a community of your own, take some time to consider what being a manager of your own community means.
When you start your own community you'll be taken to a page where you can customize it. There's a community name, which you are free to change any time you see fit, but you also can greet new members with a message, post pictures and allow for open access to your community, or request only. Either one is good. For my community it's a little broad for me to pick and choose who can and can't join. Just remember that it is your community, though. You are free to block members and remove them from the community. Be careful, however: With great power comes great responsibility. If you block someone you best be prepared to explain why you did it. This also means you are allowed to set the rules for your community, but you'll have to be able to manage it. Much like when following a member or datapoint, you can receive alerts whenever someone posts a new review in your community, or whenever someone does something. It's pretty helpful stuff if you're a manager.
The review settings are by far the most unique thing managers get to do. Using the review settings you can, quite literally, provide members with an outline of how their review could potentially go. This is great if you've got new members who don't really know where to begin. If someone is in the community and they decide to write the review, the outline you typed out for them automatically pops up into the text box. From there it's as simple as filling in the blank. You can also select which tags are appropriate for your community. And if you're into to Twitter you can tweet. You can also post widgits on your other pages if you so choose.
Also, you are given the power to select which reviews can be featured and unfeatured in the community. You also have the power to remove any review... for basically any reason you deem necessary. So when you're being told by Lunch staff that you are running your own website, they really mean it. There's the bigger picture--the overall Lunch website, but when it comes to the communities, you're being given the reins to lead it and to develop it as you see fit.
There's a lot for managers to do. What may be the most important thing for managers, however, is the ability to message everyone in your community at once. And there's no better way to get fellow members involved. Not a week goes by when I don't get a message from To Believe or Not to Believe the Hype in which the founder will email us updates to the community as well as a list of featured reviews. It allows for members to be in the loop on what's going on. I know, I know, for those in The Gaming Hub I haven't done this lately, but these updates are to come within my community too.
So far the feature is great. And while I may have issues with not being able to post reviews in more than one community, it is nice to see how the members have learned to connect through these communities. As the feature becomes more refined and developed, and as more members become a part of Lunch, the communities feature may be one of the best things Lunch has done yet.
I’m not going to lie, I’m a sucker for leadership positions. Which is why when I found out that Lunch was allowing their members to start and moderate their own communities, I was pretty excited. I’ve always wanted to have an online community/following of some sort, yet Facebook wasn’t really doing it for me. I have blogs, but it is so hard for my blog readers to really interact and tell their own opinions in the comment sections on my blog. Communities on Lunch completely … more
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Communities on Lunch is a place where Lunchers can create personalized review websites about their unique passions. Community members can find and post reviews, topics, quick tips and lists on any particular topic related to the community.
The idea of a Community is to share content around a specific perspective that will shape the nature of the conversation. The more niche the interest, the better for the members of that Community and also for everyone reading the reviews, lists, and quick tips. Creating a dynamic where discussion and commentary with fellow enthusiasts is focused around a detailed subject brings both the participants and their contributions to a higher level.
Communities on Lunch provide the ‘review’ context, a new format for connecting around shared interests online. This environment aims to draw out useful content around niche topics, encouraging more people to feel comfortable contributing quality content that can genuinely benefit others.
Communities on Lunch are curated by the Community Founder, who decides what gets reviewed (by setting which topics are in the Community), and sets the tone for how those topics get discussed.
All topics are organized at a global level on the main Lunch site; preventing great opinions and information from being lost in a disorganized message board thread, or trapped in an isolated social network or group. ...