I’ve been thinking about different types of communities recently. Two forms of community that are often discussed are "communities of interest" where the members share a common set of interests (e.g. a community of people interested in Japanese culture), and "communities of practice" where the members share a common set of skills (e.g. a community of marketing professionals). To these I would add a third type called a "community of purpose," where the focus is on a shared goal (e.g. a political activist community or a community collaborating on a common project). Most existing community tools today are either focused on building communities of interest or communities of practice. But I am more interested in creating tools that help people create more productive communities of purpose. To do this we need to merge the functionality of groupware and knowledge management with emerging community tools for social networking, blogging, and wikis.
(Note: Jason wrote in on April 12, 2005 to inform me of his previous blog posts about this concept, which he also called "communities of purpose" — that not only makes him the originator of the term, but it also officially makes it a meme.)