This is what many blog-centered communities look like (if readers looked like default photoshop shapes)
Most of the readers of this or any blog are already connected in more that one way… Twitter and other blogs. Communities mostly exist across multiple nodes on the web. But they still don’t connect laterally at each node, they just plug in individually in different places.
Here’s what I wish online communities could be more like. Twitter is helping but isn’t great for anything more than greetings, tips-of-hats and shoutouts. Community needs somewhere more comfortable, quite and personal.
But how does this work? How do we get from the first scenario to the second? Can we do this on a blog?
Here are some ideas about what brings people together to help, support and encourage each other. These are things I want to do more of!
Exercise those vocal chords.
Walk around the playground. Invite readers (‘members of your community’) to learn more about each other through in-depth personal interviews.
Get more than one of your fellows on the phone at once, and share the conversation! Every time I speak with a reader (mostly I’m their reader too so it goes both ways) the most amazing things come of it. It consolidates a lot of the ideas I have. A slightly different perspective and input on your thoughts can take them from the darkness of the attic to the light of day, and imagine if your whole community had access to the inspiration that comes.
Link excessively to your peeps in your blog posts. This will give readers an opportunity to get a better grasp of your concept while staying brief and on-track for your current post.
Linking is something I almost never do because I write in an arty farty fullscreen text editors – good for flow but bad for anything else – and rarely go back over a post. But it’s something I should do more freely, because if they’re my peeps then they have a lot of useful things to say, right?
And lastly, see yourself as less of a leader and hub, and more of a connecter, instigator and servant. The best leaders in history all considered themselves servants.
Now I know well that I’m not practicing the above, but I fully intend to – in some new projects I’m planning (they’re already going actually, but I’ll be likely be redirecting some different energies from here into less personal and more service oriented niches.
Any other ideas out there about engaging, linking, enabling and empowering a community?
Thanks Degilbo on flickr for the birdies.