Inside info about the COPS! *Probably not the type of ‘COPS’ you’re thinking of -Sorry

Inside info about the cops!.jpg

That’s right here we are about to expose the COPS!’s not the police astonishingly. Please keep in mind this is a social media blog, nothing that exciting happening here – just kidding!

Anyhow, the term COPS is still relevant to this blog post as I will now explain.

The term COP is an acronym for Communities Of Practice.

This relates to collective learning in strife of achieving a common goal. For example a class of university students may have the collective goal of getting good grades or a rugby team may have the collective goal of winning the local rugby tournament.

Now you may be under the impression that this can include anyone who had similar connections between each other however, it is more toward the idea that there is a collective commitment towards a very specific goal. This very idea of a specific goal can also be known as a Domain.

Now we bounce back to this idea of ‘collective’ and by this we refer to the point that they are working together. This group who are working together are also known as the community.

The community must work together to scrape together resources, ideas, tools and so on in order to achieve their common goal. The actions of what I have just described is known as the practice  of the community.

It is particularly important that the community involved in achieving the domain, adds to the practice.


Created by: Jack Manning on

Now you’re probably wondering how this all relates to the social media world or at least to the online world.

Many people believe that the concept of an online community has the same meaning as COP however they are significantly different.

Firstly let’s look at what an online community is.

We can see how people mistake online communities for being the same as a COP because they both are a collective group of people who have similar interests in mind as online communities are mostly niche and categorically specific.

They also both can act as an information system for sharing content and communicating through discussing, posting or collaborating on a topic.
Common Craft define an online community as:

” a group of people with common interests who use the Internet (web sites, email, instant messaging, etc) to communicate, work together and pursue their interests over time”

Realizing that this relates to social media sites and forums (websites) we can assume that you can only achieve so much with an online community hence making a community of practice more useful for achieving common goals.

Therefore a community of practice is better in achieving goals as there is more of a direct connection between people in the COP  as in online communities there is often a broad range of skill-sets in a forum which makes it difficult to work with like minded individuals.

COP vs Online community.jpg
Created by: Jack Manning on

Now lets look at the advantages and disadvantages of COPS!


  • Best possible way to form a team to achieve a common goal
  • Learn how to achieve goal more efficiently
  • Improves teamwork and relations with coworkers
  • Creates innovation
  • Use the knowledge of others to help yourself and the team
  • Better than having an online community where these communities can only offer so much


  • Can fail if others are not motivated
  • Difficult to find others that are perfect candidates to be in the COP
  • Challenging to determine if others are on the same knowledge level as you are
  • Are boring unless they are informal
  • Can be hard to figure out what is relevant and what is not
  • Hard to find the right expert to host the COP session
Thanks for givingus the world.jpg
Created by: Jack Manning on

Here is a very informative video regarding COP’s which illustrates the basics of them and how they are formed – and the video only takes 2 minutes!

This video helped me assist this blog post along with various other readings provided through my university blueprint.


Thanks again for tuning into another blog post by yours truly! If you did find this useful to some degree, could you please share it with your audience via the social sharing buttons and I would be forever greatful!

Maybe you could form your own COP? My question for you this week is what subject you would form a COP around? Please leave your answer in the comments section below and I will respond to each one personally.



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