Building Offline Community In A Online Decentralised Setting.
Some of the community building projects that I was involved in the past were mainly offline while some online.
These include Borneo Bloggers, Startup and Social Media Networking Facebook Group, Kota Kinabalu Entrepreneur Network, Webcamp Kk, Google Business Group, Logistic Professionals Society, E-Sports, Environmental, Political, Business, Tourism Groups and Associations and few Community based initiatives that I helped initiate and some guided. All this within the span of 15 years.
I was truly lucky to be entrusted to lead some of it too, the experiences alone is truly valuable and life-changing. While there was a lot of focus on engaging, growing, empowering, and giving your best for the community.
You would be surprised how much you received in return in terms of the insights, goodwill, networking and lifetime friendship.
The building, growing a community is a fun and exciting process. The process required some amount of strategizing, lots of coordinating, mountain size of patience and focus on the side of positivity.
You will meet all sort of people from all walks of life, unreal characters, fakes, wannabes and a lot of positive individuals that want to help achieve the bigger picture.
While these positive bunch would give you the biggest impact in your life, matured you, shape your perspective and character, those negative individuals define you as your decisions you make in each encounter and situation will either take you back or leap you forward toward great possibilities and opportunities.
Those that fill the room with positivity are those that you put in your trust circles, and those with negativity and personal agenda that defeat the bigger picture is to be red flagged. Not to kick away, just red flag. Why? the reason simple, you need a certain amount of their negativity to fuel and challenge you toward achieving your goal.
Let’s first look at some of the areas i think you should be aware of if you were to get into building a community.
Daniel Doughty Handbook to Community Building
Understanding the Core Principals
Take time to get to know the real purpose in what you are trying to achieve, how it will it affect the community on the micro level, how will you achieve the big picture and what impact will you have to people around you.
There is no use to start going about without knowing what is it for you and the community first. Knowing what you need to achieve will bring in clarity in the strategy, especially when you are at a crossroad, it will be a guiding principle to remind you why you are here at the first place.
Understand how everything works, from its politics, social dynamics, and operational. Taking your time to ensure that you have a clear understanding of how everything around you that affect what you want to achieve, is a winning advantage.
You don’t want to be working on something and halfway, you end up saying “shit, I should have known that“. It makes you look like an idiot and in all honesty, you are not just wasting your time, you are wasting everyone time and opportunity.
Where to Begin
Seek a Champion
Remember when dealing with people, You don’t have to be the champion. You don’t have to present yourself as a champion.
If you are genuinely working your ass off toward achieving the community common goal along with the community local champion that you inspired and empowered, at the end of the day you will realize it is useless to be a champion.
The satisfaction and smiles on everyone faces have more real being a champion. As matter of fact you may be recognized as one but always push it back to the local champion, for the sake of building their confidence and growth toward being self-reliant.
Establish trust circle, look for partners that are outside of the community that you will be working with. Start from your within, an existing circle and move outward.
Get them to understand your purpose and goal, make it very clear what is it in for you, and for the community from the very beginning. No hidden agenda.
Then make it clear what is it in for them. No bullshit, No String attached, if the first brief, they are not on board based on a lousy freaking reason. Give them a kite and ask to fly, but do it gentlemanly cause you will need them and they will need you again someday. Whatever it is, don’t burn bridges and don’t beg.
The pitch has to be perfect. Be it with toward potential partners, stakeholder or to the community. Take time to work and polish your pitch. What is to achieve, what impact will it create, what is it for everyone, and how you will achieve it.
Don’t you dare sugarcoat challenges and threat, Tell it as it is. The last thing you want to do is to put false hope.
Be a realist, and adventurer, a poet, a death row executioner and an honest actor. You can be all that, the pitch will be perfect.
Action is Louder
Miscommunication is for dummies. The only reason why there is miscommunication is either the person you are talking too is deaf, dumb or have other agenda.
If the person is deaf, use sign language or write the instruction down. if the person is dumb, educate him until he understands. If the person has other agendas, put up the red flag, give him a kite.
Whatever you have promised, there is no excuse not to commit and execute. Your action will determine morale and momentum in growth, but always be a realist, never over promise or else you go get yourself a kite.
Always remember that it is ok to lose battles but your every action has to be toward winning the war. Achieving the community common goal is the ultimate agenda.
There will be times disagreement happen, clashes in personality, the drama by fakes and wannabes and individuals with negativity. If these situations arise and such personalities appear, Never put your emotion on the table, you are not there to please anyone but to achieve the bigger picture. So always speak up while dancing with dignity and class not for yourself but on behalf of the community.
Setting the Tone
Whatever big decision made by yourself or consensus with the local champions, It will end up being part of the policy and how things are going to go about.
The best way to build policy, operational structure or big decision making that could affect the core goal and purpose is through community consensus.
There will be a time when such decision is left to you and your local champions to make it. If these scenarios happen, always make sure you take a step to ensure that you guided the process in the decision making, and as if the decision making is from the community through the local champion and more importantly that it is not from you.
And if, it comes to it that you need to make a decision to ensure the line is toed, always make the decision on the basis of the core goal and purpose, the bigger picture. Never make the decision based on out of conveniences.
Always remember, black is black, white is white and leave some part at the grey area to ensure enough fluidity for progress.
You must never micromanage and always keep the trust circle tight, be it between partners or your local champions. To a point, not even a needle can penetrate. If you fail to keep it tight, It all on you not because of whatever excuse you learn from the feel-good quote you find in google search.
Make sure everyone is responsible for their own action, accountable to achieve the core goal and purpose. Let them be the judge, jury and executioner while being monitored by the local champion to give advises and guide decision making.
This will allow you to have enough time to be a strategist. If you don’t let go. You will eventually burn. If you burn, go get yourself a kite.
Establish Small Goals
Ensure that small, measurable, attainable, rewarding triumph (SMART) is placed at every junction the process of getting to the next step toward achieving the bigger picture.
SMART need to be definitive and clear to the community, partners and stakeholder. This will ensure consistency in getting the momentum going.
But these SMART decisions need to be made by the community, you may only suggest not forced upon.
For example. If the goal is to achieve 10 buyers to purchase the community coconut pudding, don’t say “we need 10 suppliers to purchase our coconut by next year”. Just ask, “can we achieve 10 buyers to purchase our coconut pudding by next year?”. Let the decision to be made by them, if they can’t tell you. Just leave it as it is, help work toward getting the 10 buyers and give all the credit to them, to build their confidence making they think they have achieved it as a community.
A dose of Vitamin K A Day, Keep The Idiot Away
Always be ready to be a giving soul for knowledge/pointers/ know how, all the time, every time, anytime.
This will ensure that if you ever exit or not around, they will then be able to be self-reliant. If you are not willing to give your all, don’t begin.
Your goal is to ensure you are able to get a local champion to be better than you. You can achieve that, you are set on achieving the common goal twice the time.
Compliment and Recognition
Give credit when it is due, compliment when the time is right and present and give recognition to positive and good actions.
This will only encourage positivity throughout the process and ensure that morals are always up high. A feel-good emotion that will fuel and get thing driven.
But the rule is, not too much or end up losing its value. It is important that you know the difference between what is being accountable, responsible and action that is above and beyond.
Note: go fly a kite. mainly US informal old-fashioned. used to tell someone who is being annoying to go away. I used the word "give him a kite" , "get a kite" or anything similar in replacement of the really meaning of go fly a kite.
While above is parts guidelines taken from the unpublished community building handbook that is in my head. It is important to understand that there is a lot of variables involved when dealing with a community as no shoe can fit all sizes. Nevertheless, it is advisable that having a mentor to help guide you on community building would shortcut the process and save you from being disheartened and easily demotivated.
The proposition that serves as the foundation of building an online or offline community is similar in its principal, but in a certain aspect, it is different in its core fundamentals and strategy.
In a traditional, real-life, formalized, hierarchy settings in building a community, some of the important aspects include empowerment and capacity building. While the principle is the same in a decentralized setting such as steemit, it is, however, a non-essential in comparison to offline version.
The strength and opportunity in a decentralised environment, showcase that empowerment comes from within an individual, there is no authority nor the process of power given to someone to do something.
The empowerment mechanism is in the social engagement capability through comments, upvote, resteem and reputation ranking. Steemit is overload with content material and the rewards drive the effort that encourages and enhances capacity building for all members. These activity and processes cover the similarity of the traditional offline community building.
Nevertheless, we cannot discount the value of offline engagement. As continuous education and offline social engagement are crucial to help those who sign up realized the value and what is at stake.
Once they realized, self-empowerment through the usage of steemit naturally begins along with the capacity building. The offline social aspect of engagement will drive initiatives organized by those that are self-empowered.
The role of Community builders that started early then, is supporting good initiatives to ensure steemit community and steem blockchain remains and becomes highly valuable in the crypto world.
While the principles could be more or less similar, but the fundamentals and strategy differ in comparison with traditional offline community building that has its historical imprint of hierarchy.
It is easier to build and grow a community on decentralized setting such as steemit as the empowerment and capacity building mechanism is already in place within the system, but the main driver that encourages a thriving steemit offline community that uses an online decentralized setting is the sustainable financing mechanism that is in place through social mining.
Why Am I Here
Daniel Doughty loves his community and ideas but hates writing. Steemit is a brilliant platform that would help him express his thoughts and helps him practise his writing, he hopes to get better at it.
He is now a self proclaim steemit evangelist and preacher , encouraging his community in Borneo to use steemit as a bridge to the outside world to build awareness, showcase talents and most importantly to create wealth for themselves.
To find out more on what he does, click HERE