When I see an online article — ANY online article — with something like 738 comments, I get a little anxious. Okay, a lot anxious. (And I don’t read a single one.)
Also: I can’t bring myself to read any YouTube comments, EVER, for any reason. Holy hell the things people say!!! They’re so MEAN! (I go a little bit righteous 2-year-old when I read ’em, lol…)
Additionally: when I see a few thousand people in an online group, I’m not tempted to participate. Massive numbers make me want to break out in hives.
I propose a new way of doing community for business.
First community change: forget obligation.
So you’re off having adventures and didn’t check your e-mail today? Or yesterday? AWESOME. No need to feel guilty for not being 100% connected at all times. No need to know every person in the group. No need to remember everyone’s birthday.
No need to be anyone but who you are right now, which may or may not be a person who can make space for cultivating new relationships in your life.
Second community change: only real connections matter.
Real connections don’t have a target-number-of-business-cards-handed-out goal attached. Nor do they have a “What can you do for me!?” approach at the core of the relationship.
Real connections in business look a lot like real connections outside of business: friendship.
Whether you want to connect with a single person deeply, or with 22 people in person, or found the “Extrovert Rampage” Facebook group with 632,389 members — cool. I’m not judging extroverts, I’m just tired of playing by those rules when it comes to this sort of thing.
Third community change: let go of the “obligations” surrounding community.
So you hate Facebook groups? Quit ’em all! Can’t stand forums? Cool! Don’t ever want to leave a blog comment again? Fantastic! You’re making the rules when it comes to interacting with your business. So do it up however you’d like.
Let’s defy convention and the ways we do “community” in business.
Here are ten ideas to get you started:
⚡️ Meet in person instead of connecting exclusively online.
⚡️…or meet online if you normally meet in person. Texting and Facetiming count!
⚡️ Found an accountability group and make sure each member does one Brave thing per week.
⚡️ Ditch comments on your blog and offer up an alternative way to connect: Instagram? Snail mail? Meetup? Hangout?
⚡️ Ramp up comments by asking people to chime in about a specific topic by using a call to action.
⚡️ Connect people you know personally via e-mail a few times a week, just for the sake of making introductions. Sarah does this exceptionally well!
⚡️ Introduce a snail mail component to your work. (When you’ve been a member of the Fuck Yah club for six months, I send snail mail! Join here.)
⚡️ Start a living room tour of your state or region (i.e. take your show on the road!).
⚡️ Arrange Skype or Facetime dates with potential customers instead of e-mailing ’em.
We’re wired to connect — so let’s do it.
But let’s do it in a way that feels good, and sustainable, and that builds lasting bonds, okay?
P.S. Another way to engage with community is to build everyday fundraising into your business.
Photo // Jon Canlas at Brand Camp the camp, group photo