Version 1
Visibility: Open to anyone

    Version:  5.x, 6.x, Cloud

    Requirements:  Group owner or space administrator


    Objective:  You are trying to determine whether to create a space or social group and want to know the features of each.

    Outcome:  Determine when to use a space and when to use a social group.


    As a community manager you are trying to create a place in the community to collaborate.  There are two main choices:  spaces and social groups.  In this lesson we'll talk about the main features and general uses of each.


    Tip:  Both spaces and social groups have the exact same functionality when creating content.  The differences are who has access to create the content.



    Place - this term is used to describe all spaces and groups in the community.  A space and a group are a type of place.


    Comparison of Space and Social Group Features:


    FeatureSpaceSocial Group
    Created byAdministratorsUsers
    How to get accessPermissionsInvitation, Join



    Spaces are created by administrators and thus, require access to the administration console.  Spaces allow for role-based collaboration which means certain roles will have certain permissions for each content type.


    Real world example:  college class.  In a typical college course there are 2-3 roles:  Professor (SME), Student (customer, employee, consumer) and perhaps TA (champion).  Each role has different responsibilities regarding the content.  For example, the professor is the expert and responsible for things like documentation and notes.  The students consume the documentation and comment or ask questions about it.  The TA (teaching assistant) bridges between the two and has slightly higher permissions then the students.


    Now for a Jive example:  In the human resources space the HR team (SMEs) would have the ability to create documents.  All other users (employees) would have the ability to read and comment on those documents but not create their own.


    Spaces support a hierarchical structure with sub-spaces: a space contained within another space.  This can be used to simulate organizational structure or simply break down certain spaces into working parts.


    Social Groups:

    Social groups can be created by  users in the community.  These places are membership based which means that users opt-in and choose to join their groups.  Social groups support team-based collaboration in that everyone that joins can do the same thing in regards to the content of the group.


    Tip: Depending on the group type it might require the user to be invited before they are aware the group is available.

    With membership being the basis for social groups, once a user becomes a member they are allowed to create, contribute and view all content in the group.  The group owner does not have any control over who can create certain content types but they do have control over how a user becomes a member. For example: if discussions are disabled in a particular social group, they cannot be created in that group by anyone, including the group admin.

    Social groups have a flat structure in that all social groups are created equal and you cannot have a group within a group or within a space.  A typical use for social groups is for team collaboration where you need to get multiple users input on a topic.

    So how do I choose?

    It all depends on how much control over the content you need.  If you are looking for a place to post content but you cannot allow others to post content, use a space.  If you are looking to get users together for focused collaboration and content type by content type granular permissions are not a concern, use a group.  Remember, it's based on need and in most cases if you suddenly need a place to collaborate you can probably use a social group to do it.

    Where do I go next?  Creating and Managing Social Groups

    Go back to the previous lesson:  Defining a Community Manager