note: this is the unabridged version of a post originally published at of which I am a regular contributor

this is part 1 of an article which is being published in 10 instalments

3 years ago, I was contacted by a marketing representative of a large European company who was showing interest in some of my early blogging and web work at His focus was on how one could use social media in the field and I then wrote a piece for him describing my vision for social media (or Web 2.0 as it was named back then) within businesses. His project was stopped, but I was lucky enough to be able to apply my own recommendations for myself, unless it had nothing to do with luck, which is very likely. Now that the social media boom is looming, I have decided to revise and update my recommendations. Social media is not a matter of tools but of adhering to the philosophy and ethics of neo marketing on the Web (see Tara Hunt interview for details).

Here are therefore my 10 tips for succeeding in web collaboration on the Internet:

one: communities are important, but not every brand has one

Enabling comments on a website and letting users enter comments, adding a bit of technicality here and there is not enough to transform a static website into an interactive and collaborative platform. Avoid creating empty shells in which collaboration will not actually happen (I have examples but I won’t link to them out of courtesy). Besides, not everyone has a community, however fashionable that word may be. Communities are built with passion, common interest and the need for people to help each other. Just because some people are merely buying products doesn’t mean that they are part of a community. Let alone your community. Companies need to foster community feelings and serve their ecosystems’ interests (i.e. work on their whuffie) before thinking of orchestrating a community. Last but not least, communities aren’t managed; at best, they can be encouraged and facilitated (I am therefore not really crazy about the new community management fad). For detailed tips on how to foster communities refer to Hagel and Armstrong’s 1997 Net Gain and then you will realise that communities aren’t new on the Web.

to be continued …

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