Tonight I attended a small and interesting conversation entitled “Community Building in Boston: Leaders Share Their Stories”, which was hosted by the New Prosperity Initiative. [website to launch in January] 

NPI is a new not-for-profit organization whose mission is to share the success stories of local leaders and organizations broadly; that by making these stories available across the Internet, other community innovators can benefit from the knowledge and triumphs of their far-off brothers & sisters.

Tonight's conversation covered the history, and lasting impact, of busing in Boston, the current state of public education in Boston, and lessons learned from community organizing in Boston.

Of course, I see the world through the lens of the Internet, and in particular, I was trying distill the parallels between offline and online community motivations, and organizations. As it turns out, there are quite a few more than I imagined. 

Is anyone aware of a ‘playbook’ for community management? A definitive guide for interaction patterns, and expected outcomes? I know Yahoo hosts a catalogue of design patterns and considerations for social websites, but I’m curious if there’s a broader resource that might apply beyond the web; one with deeper psychological roots. If anyone is aware of any helpful resources, I’d love to hear about them.

I think those designing social websites, and those enriching offline-communities have much to share.