Building a Community
After reading the assigned chapters on online community building, it seems to me that those strategies are very similar to in-person community building. However, they are just executed in different ways online.
The definition of a community is, “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.”
The definition of an online community is, “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.”
As we can see, the definitions are incredibly similar; the ends are the same, but the means are different. Because the means are different, there are some specific strategies that can be beneficial when building an online community.
1. Give it some time.
Like any sort of relationship, it can take time to build and develop effectively. Something that many online contributors lack is patience: you need to let your users have a chance to get to know you online, and find those niches that the community has in common. The online community definition includes the words, “pursue…interests over time.” Nothing great is built overnight.
2. Don’t be afraid to invite.
Many campaigns remain internal, and basically hidden from users that would fit very well into a community. Never be afraid to send out an email, advertise a little bit, and reach your market in an efficient way. Part of building community is the building part, and to do that, you can’t stray away from different methods of recruiting.
3. Decide and Commit.
If you decide to start building a community you need to commit to it. It takes a routine effort to create a community that users can depend on and look forward to checking out. The facilitator needs to use consistent posting strategies, integrating photos and other media to keep users engaged. If you’re going to decide to do it, decide to do it right.