Private messaging in online communities or social networks is one of the key features that adds a social layer for personal conversations and enables members to build stronger bonds. Barring certain use cases, the ability to send private messages signifies that the community wants to empower the members with secure tools for confidential communication.
Although it is not a completely new feature, private messaging inside an online community was largely influenced by popular social media sites. If we look closely at private messaging, it has been available since the advent of the internet. For example, emails are also a medium for private messages.
Simply put, private messaging or direct messaging allows members to communicate with each other without revealing the information to any other member. The conversation is not visible in other sections of a community, i.e., groups, discussions, questions & answers.
The key element of private messaging stems from the fact that when people want to connect with someone on a deeper level, they would want to first reach out. It could be anything from a simple “hello” to the ability to convey sensitive information. Regardless of the use case, the underlying theme is control over the visibility of conversation.
Since it allows people to build stronger personal connections, there are significant benefits for an online community.
There are several benefits of private messaging in an online community because of its ability to open up a simple and faster channel to communicate. To sum up, this feature is pivotal in three key aspects - it improves collaboration, boosts member retention, and fosters efficient communication.
Improving retention. Private messaging keeps the community members inside your platform since they don’t have to move to a separate platform for private communication.
Efficient communication. Private or Direct messaging is highly personalized in nature and the conversations are secure. These two factors are important for pertinent communication for any member of a community.
Improving collaboration. Faster and easier exchange of messages improves productivity and encourages members to collaborate. Members are not distracted by the rest of the content posted in the community since they are communicating in a private space.
Deploying private messaging on Tribe communities is simple. Since it offers real-time and offers a chat-like experience, this feature can improve collaboration and make member communication more accessible.
There are two different permission levels that can be configured by a community admin:
It also empowers your members to control their preferences for private conversations. Members can opt-in to receive messages from anyone in the community or only the members they follow. Members can also turn off the “read receipts” in case they would not like to reveal whether they have read a message or not.
Starting a private message is straightforward — members can open up the private messaging panel from the chat icon available on the navigation bar, search the member, and initiate a conversation. Members can also view the history of all the conversations with different members and delete the messages as well.
With private messaging, a community admin can easily add an additional communication channel and enable deeper connections in an online community.
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