In this space, I write about what’s happening in the broad sphere we call the SharePoint Community. We talk about topics that are top of mind for SharePoint professionals, and we offer a place here and on social media to bring working SharePointers together.

But one area I haven’t spoken about is creating your own SharePoint community.

What does this mean? Simply, it’s about creating your own virtual community where your people in your organization can exchange thoughts, ideas and solutions to problems.

How does this happen?

SharePoint 2013 offers a Community Site template that provides social capabilities such as forums, the ability to moderate discussions, the ability to retain the history of a discussion, and more.

Once Community Sites are created, they can be displayed in a Community Portal, for which a template also exists. From Microsoft’s site: It is a Web Part page that provides search-driven results to display any sites that use the Community Site template in the SharePoint farm. The Community Portal template provides a search Web Part to search for communities or other content, and a Popular Communities Web Part to display communities. The sort order in Popular Communities is determined by the number of posts, number of replies, and number of members. Posts are weighted higher than replies and members. Replies and members are weighted the same. This means that a community with a smaller number of very active users is considered more popular than a larger, less active community.

Some critics have said Microsoft is confusing the “social” issue by offering Team Sites, Community Sites and Yammer (flawed though the integration may be). But Community Sites do offer a powerful solution for work collaboration. To learn more about it, click here.