Each year, we are presented with a new and unique set of challenges that shape the online community space. 2021, however, is a year unlike anything we've seen before; the political, economical and social landscape have been shaped drastically by challenges presented by the global pandemic, which have had a profound impact on the way organizations conduct business.
How will the environmental landscape of 2021 impact online communities, and how can we prepare for the challenges that lie ahead? What key trends can we expect to see in the next year, and in what ways will they shape the approach we take in our communities?
This year's edition has all the answers. Our experts have identified seven key community trends that we can expect to see in 2021, and have provided us with recommendations on how to stay ahead of the curve.
Communities are agents of social change. As people congregate, build on ideas and create plans for action with like-minded individuals, they spark movements that empower individuals and reaffirm political positions. Due to the limitations on in-person meetings that have been imposed on the public during the past year, having these discussions online has increased tremendously as people look at other ways of making their concerns heard. As a result, communities of all sorts will see these types of conversations pop-up as they become more prominent.
In 2021, sociopolitical activities will not only be initiated online, but will also be able to gain a considerable amount of steam and support as they become online movements that anyone in the world can join.
Political polarization runs deep in the US, and the rise of identity-group politics and discussions surrounding racial and ethnic diversity over the past few decades has peaked. With social movements like BLM, MeToo, activism on climate change and political-ideological divides, issues of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) have become difficult to ignore. As a result, many organizations are looking to address these issues and create more inclusive environments. Recognizing DEI and ensuring that all members are able to participate in a safe and inclusive environment is crucial to the work that community itself aims to achieve.
In 2021, our experts predict that more attention will be paid to DEI within the community space and that action will be taken to remedy these issues.
While community professionals have been advocating the benefits of community for years, it has only recently become more common for organizations to provide their customers with this dedicated online space. In fact, over the past few years, more evidence has emerged that shows the compelling value that community offers, which not only supports what community professionals have been saying for years, but also provides organizations with quantitative proof of community impact. In short, most organizations have realized that community is a must-have; it's a strategic program that can be used to forward objectives throughout the organization.
In 2021, our experts predict that organizations with an online community will reap the benefits, as those without find themselves at a disadvantage.
2020 was a year unlike any we've seen in our lifetimes. These challenges have pushed organizations to seek digital solutions to remain relevant and connect with their customers online. What impact has the global situation had on community and what can we expect moving forward into 2021?
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