The GFC is no stranger to Social Media, its had a facebook page going back years and little do most people know that the hash tag on twitter #galaxyfleetcommand has been available for a long time.
Though the GFC does have a forum, it seems at type of way of communication has fallen out of favour with uses and many never really got into. It doesn't help when the look and feel is very bland and hasn't changed in years.
Blogs like this one or the official one have been good ways of getting stories about the group out but generally we found its always been a bit hard to get people to post regularly. So you'd end up with a view of the world which were by one or two writers. But posting never felt as easy or immediate, I certainly know when posting on blogs I tended to want to write more and having a few days of small post felt abit like cheating, but that's just me.
What really was needed was a way to encourage participation more easily, which is simple to use, post and where you could receive updates as they happen on your mobile phone, tablet or PC if needed, plus something which you can easily just pop in and pop out.
In some respects facebook has that ability and we have had a facebook page for a long time, It was felt that something needed to be out there which was more community based where the users felt the freedom to post things which have happened in the group or even post something which they think the group would be interested in. A less corporative stamp and a more cosy members feel.
Google communities seemed a good fit to try because we already have members using services like their drive storage, docs, forms and spreadsheets as part of GFC's day to day operations
How communities works is you set up a feed like page where people simply post small articles, maybe sharing a thought, some pictures from an event, links to video etc.
Two communities were set up, one is totally public, anyone can joined irrespective if they are members or not. The other is a members only community which can be used to ask about specific group related subjects, stuff you may want to keep in house or is more relevant to members specifically than putting out to the general net.
These communities are build for the members to easily pass on things that interest them, things they want to talk about, ask questions about.
You can also communicate with members directly in chat messaging or video calls so if you wanted you could set a time to debate with members about stuff or even create regular video/voice or chat meetings.
Public GFC community link --> HERE
Members community requires invitation.