A Brief History of CaribHRForum’s Virtual Communities

Over the years, the community at CaribHRForum has used a number of technologies to connect its members.

In the first few years after the launch in 2003, there were a less than a hundred participants who gathered via a Yahoo group. It was a free service, which meant that there were a number of advertisements inserted by Yahoo. Over time, these became a distraction.

The next iteration (after some struggle) we adopted was a mailman mailing list. This technology involved sending a message to a single address which was then dispersed to all members. It worked fine for small numbers of less than 400 but once the membership hit that mark, there were limits imposed by the host provider. A move to another provider helped for a while, but a new problem arose.

Putting everyone on the same mailing list meant that there was no way to have a private side-conversation between members. Plus, there were no social features we have come to take for granted after seeing them work on sites like Facebook and Linkedin. To help tackle the challenge, CaribHRForum created a page and a group on each of these platforms, alongside an expanded mailing list of about 600.

Over time, however, people’s habits evolved. Email conversations got lost in members’ inboxes, resulting in lower participation overall and a smaller number of active threads. Facebook was no solution as the network cut its free delivery of messages. The Linkedin groups are not really meant to host a community.

Without a real home, little happened for about two years except for regular messages from Framework Consulting to HR practitioners, most of whom are CaribHRForum alumni. Thankfully, the creation of MightyNetworks -a community platform provider – broke the stalemate.

Now the network has provided a new home for HR practitioners to connect with each other in a way that looks and feels familiar. This technology is built for large memberships, and allows for the creation of sub-groups, for example.

The online network enabled us to conduct the first regional virtual conference in 2020.