Online Communities AuthorMy name is Martin Reed. I purchased my first computer in 1999, connected to the Internet and was immediately hooked. I began to experiment setting up basic web pages and in 2000 established Just Chat which has gone on to become one of the UK’s most popular online communities with up to 600 simultaneous chat room users and over half a million forum posts. Just Chat was listed as one of ’365 Brilliant Websites’ by the UK’s best selling Internet magazine, Web User.

In 2006 I purchased Soap Forum, a dormant online community based around British TV soaps. I completely redesigned the site, changed the forum software and reinvigorated the community. Today it is a popular destination for British soap lovers and was named as one of the 20 best showbiz and gossip websites by the popular British newspaper, the Telegraph.

In 2008 I was featured in a BBC radio interview about safety in online communities and was awarded a First Class Bachelor of Sciences with Honors degree in Internet and E-Business, before leaving the UK to marry my American fiancée.

I launched Female Forum, a community for women, in September 2008. After living in New York City for two years, I made the move to the Northern Oregon Coast where I now live.

In 2010 I closed Just Chat’s email penpals service and established a new website – Just Epals. The epals section of Just Chat had developed its own distinct community that needed its own site and identity. The new site received overwhelmingly positive feedback. I am currently working on Insomnia Land – an online community for insomniacs. This is probably my most challenging project to date.

In 2012 I became a US citizen and I also released the Community Building Pack, which I believe is the most cost effective way for individuals and organizations to learn the skills required to build a successful online community.

I have given community building advice to the New York City Department of Education and in May 2009 I presented at the INFORTE seminar in Finland. My Community Building Questions document has been used to help the leading French newspaper, Le Figaro develop a community building strategy. I have been quoted in a number of publications including Angela Connor’s book, ‘18 Rules of Community Engagement‘, PDMA’s Vision Magazine, Federal Computer Week (circulation 90,000) and Entrepreneur Magazine. Please see my hire me page for information about what I can do for you.

Community Spark is a community building blog. I share tips and advice on how to build and manage successful online communities whether they are forums, blogs, chat sites or social networks so you can gain a head-start over the competition.

In this blog I hope to share much of what I have learnt (and am still learning) when it comes to developing and managing a successful online community. Some of my favorite articles include:

So once again, welcome to Community Spark – I hope you will take the time to get involved by commenting on the articles that are of interest to you. This blog is a real community, with regular readers and contributors. I hope you will become one of them, and look forward to welcoming you.