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Tuning In | Grace Clapham on empowering Facebook’s community leaders with structured programs

Written by Emily Fang Published on     2 mins read

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Facebook is assisting individuals and leaders with specially curated tools and programs, says Clapham.

Grace Clapham is the director of Community Partnerships for Facebook in the APAC region, based in Singapore. In her role, she supports community leaders using Facebook’s family of apps to grow their communities, whilst also providing access to funding, social networks, and educational programs. 

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

KrASIA (Kr): Which communities are you part of right now? 

Grace Clapham (GC): I take part in hundreds of Facebook groups. Even before joining the company, I was already engaging in and running a few of them on my own. At the moment, groups centered around motherhood and parenting have been the most helpful for me. In Singapore, there’s one called Stork’s Nest. I can go in there, ask questions without worrying about being judged, and get various opinions.

Kr: Please tell me more about the GovLab study, and what the term “accidental leader” means from a community perspective. 

GC: We recently sponsored an independent study run by GovLab and NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering. The research explored when and why people were joining online groups, the effect they have on people’s lives, and how well they operate. The study found that people experience a strong sense of community despite the lack of physical proximity and interaction. More than 1.8 billion people use Facebook groups monthly.

The study also showed that many leaders are ‘accidental leaders.’ With very little idea of how a group’s leadership would unfold, many of them underestimated the importance of the community they built and how it impacted other people’s lives. We continue to see how these leaders step up to develop unique skills and navigate evolving roles as managers of groups. They run them as a labor of love, and it’s humbling to see the significance of these online communities amongst everyday people, especially during the pandemic. In a global survey conducted for Facebook by YouGov, in 11 of the 15 nations surveyed, the largest proportion of people said that the most important groups in their lives are primarily online.

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