Everybody’s talking about community building these days. Often we forget how easy it is (can be) and how frequently it happens. A volcano, some stranded Europeans and Denver. This is how you build a community:
- Get a bunch of people together with more or less similar values.
E.g. museum professionals working on participation.
- Urge them to do something, change their status quo.
E.g. by having a volcano erupt and cause huge ash clouds.
- Make them understand that they’re involved in the new situation.
E.g. by cancelling their flights home.
- Have a community leader/manager take the lead in collaborative action.
E.g. Jennifer Trant who starts a system to find those stranded lodging and something to do.
- Find some early adopters and encourage them to participate and take group action.
E.g. by setting the example yourself and offering your lodging.
- Give the community the freedom to develop by offering tools, not rules.
E.g. pen and paper, a common media channel and enthusiasm.
- Put emphasis on the positive behaviour of individuals in the community.
E.g. by talking to them or retweeting their initiatives.
- Think beyond social media.
E.g. by hosting unconference sessions, meetups and drinks. Or by putting up a pen and paper registration system (see photos).
- Have an open attitude to newcomers.
E.g. by stressing how everybody is in the same situation.
- Ensure and celebrate tangible outcomes within the community.
E.g. by blogging about their events and applauding the success of individuals reaching home.
- Take action over time to reinforce the community.
E.g. by hosting a little event at next year’s conference for those affected by the volcano.
Okay. Not all communities are built this fast. And not all of the above steps will be easy to take. However, as I’ve seen it happen at MW2010, I’ve seen it happen many a times. Step 1-3 are the most important. Step 4-10 are mostly important when you want the community to work towards your goals. Step 11 is merely cool.
Thanks to all stranded Europeans and helpful Americans after MW2010. Did I miss any steps? Please, add them!