Community@brighton was once the biggest social media site within an educational institution in the world, with tens of thousands of users and a very active participatory community in its first two or three years. Sadly, though it continued for a good 8 years (I think it began around 2005 or early 2006) and eventually grew to over 100,000 users, it didn’t last. It was put out of its misery last year, after many years of neglect and slow decline, and frozen in time as a set of PDF files, that I have just discovered. The link provided here is to the last post that I wrote on the site, examining some of the reasons for its decline. I am glad that it has been archived, even if only as static PDFs.
Community@brighton was a fairly direct parent of the Landing, which shares much of its genetic material and vision, so it does kind-of live on. As well as much of the technology, we took a lot of the lessons learned at Brighton, both good and painful, and have been learning more ever since. Because of those lessons, I think the Landing has much more going for it than its ancestor and it has already thrived for much longer. By this time in community@brighton’s life it was almost dead, doing virtually nothing but support a few students finding accommodation, while the Landing continues to blossom and shows no signs of slowing.
The Landing’s other and even more direct parent was another Elgg-based site, Me2U, that Terry Anderson instigated here at AU around the same time we started community@brighton in the UK. Me2U was a smaller site and that was a very good thing because, like Facebook in its early days, it cultivated a passionate core following. Me2U has had a much happier future (if being swallowed by the Landing in a single gulp one day in January 2010 could be considered happy!) and you are looking at it now. Its posts can still be found if you wander back through the Landing archives, and they make fascinating reading.