Without Engagement and Interaction, You Can't Have "Community!"
I've been thinking a lot about "communities" recently... both because of what is happening in the greater world, and because I recently found myself having to shut down a 21-year old web community I had been the Admin of.
What are communities? What makes something a community, rather than just "a group of people?"
The reason I ended up closing my own old community was primarily that the interaction and engagement had simply dried up.
We are talking about what you might call a "web discussion group," centered around a particular personality/psychological trait.
The problem wasn't so much that people didn't send their thoughts and questions through the group anymore... rather, the problem was that people had stopped answering and interacting.
As such, our small group of just under 2,000 members had gone from at one time posting 1,500-2,000 messages a month and having lively — and often entertaining(!) — discussions to a handful of people just posting links to "Helpful Articles" that nobody every replied to.
I tried to liven up the flow a bit, but the bottom line was that we'd get new members and they'd soon enough use the "contact admin" feature to ask me if something was "wrong" with their membership because nobody seemed to be posting.
This sort of made me think back to my earliest days on Steem (early 2017) and how it wasn't all that unusual that one of my posts might get 30-40 comments... and keep in mind that I was nobody of importance!
These days, most of my posts here seem to have ZERO or maybe 1-2 comments. And I haven't really changed, as a content creator... the greater environment has changed.
And — worse — there is not much sense of community here.
Of course, I'm not trying to be an excessively harsh critic here... simply observing that there are changes, and I'm sure there's more of a sense of community within some of the country-specific sub-groups of Steem.
But that doesn't help put forth a positive vibe to encourage new membership. It doesn't help project that we have the sort of vibrant community that would encourage people to think "I wan't to be PART of that!"
Now, I don't pretend to have any perfect answers! However, personal experience in running my own online communities tells me that without interaction and engagement you just can't have a community!
So that's the tough nut that has to be cracked.
Thanks for reading!
What do YOU think? What are the core elements of a strong community? What exactly attracts people to communities? Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment-- share your experiences-- be part of the conversation!
(As usual, all text and images by the author, unless otherwise credited. This is original content, created expressly for this platform.)
Created at 20200620 00:17 PDT