On Monday, we discussed epic revelations that I’ve had concerning community building.
It became the most commented post on this site yet with 50 comments; thank you for all your great insight!
Then on Wednesday we looked at joining an online community for blog commenting led by the clever marketer, Heather Stephens.
A few of my dear readers jumped into Heather’s community with me and I look forward to chatting you up on the other side.
So, it seemed that most of us were in agreement that we need to build a network. If you’re a business owner looking to make sense of the web, you’ll benefit from interacting with a group.
A group that will sharpen your strategy, bring your ideas and visions into focus and help toss you a few comments and retweets
Is it all blue skies and green fields? Are communities without fault or drawbacks?
A couple comments in the thread made me investigate this further. Although I’m absolutely for joining the right tribe, I have to admit that sometimes the communities we find aren’t always a great fit (however, I’m lovin’ the ones I’ve found so far).
Here are some of the things I’ve noticed that weaken communities.
The push-pull imbalance
Often, the moderation is to blame here. In the presence of a massive forum, it’s hard to be all places at all times, I get it. But what’s dismaying is how many participants push information, push links, and push their own agendas without pulling.
They aren’t pulling in other folks’ information or visiting others’ sites. They’re also not thoroughly synthesizing information before blurting out some nonsense or a quick reply.
So, we see too many people being pushers (speaking) that do very little pulling (listening).
When we join a community it’s normally for a couple fixed reasons or topics. There have been a few times I’ve paid to join a community and was completely overwhelmed by two things on the other side:
- A massive number of participants
- A massive number of topics
This could be just me but I don’t think I’m getting more value because the forum leadership (or participants) are taking a shotgun approach to sharing information with the group.
I joined for a reason. To learn or discuss “xyz.” Don’t bury me in topics trying to teach me “abcdefghijk…”
Focus the message.
Limit the community size.
Granted, it’s a drag having to bounce people at the door. But let’s be honest, nobody likes being packed into a crowded, noisy room where they won’t be heard or noticed anyway.
OK this is just our fault as participants. We’re too busy clicking around everyone’s links and reading the arguments going on and “loling” it up with our fellow top contributors.
We need to spend less time socializing in there and more time communicating with purpose to reap the real benefits of joining.
Are you with me?
Let’s hear you out…
What are your biggest peeves about communities and forums you’ve joined? What would you recommend community organizers pay special attention to once things are running?
Is there something you haven’t seen happening yet in online communities and are dying to see it become reality?
This isn’t an opportunity to just rant. Let’s brainstorm solutions. I want to read about the pains and problems you’ve experienced but see if you can offer a remedy.
Your input will help all of us improve the forum environment. You’ll also be helping those of us leading communities (Heather, Sarah, me and even some of you) gather the information we need to make community engagement a success for you.
Please share, let’s hear it…