It’s easy enough, at this time of year, to suffer from the post-holiday blues. Blog traffic becomes weirdly unpredictable. Just when we thought that we our blogs were as bright as holiday lights, it seems the lights have gone out.
Ever look at a community that seems alive every day and wonder what’s so special over there? If you look closely, I bet you’ll see most of these ten traits . . .
- A community leader. Leaders know what they stand for. They know where they’re going. They know what they have to offer. Leaders are interesting people to be around. They’re generous with their experience. They don’t take themselves too seriously.
- A clear idea of people who are the community. A community is a collection of people who are alike in some way, despite their myriad differences. All members of a community have something in common — that’s the need the community serves.
- A sense of place that reflects the community. Online or off, vibrant communities offer people an environment that looks familiar to them. If the crowd prefers to wear tuxedos and black dresses, they don’t hold their party in a barn. A vibrant community design sort of says to the people who see it, "Other folks like you hang out here."
- Honest hospitality. A vibrant, growing community notices new people and welcomes them as soon as they walk in the door. Someone answers their questions and makes sure they feel at home. That’s why they return and bring their friends.
- Plenty of entertainment/information. The environment is rich with things to explore — content, ideas, and questions about the visitors. Every decision reflects who the people of the community are.
- Conversation and Connection. From the first word, conversations leave room for folks to speak — no list is finished without participation. Every idea invites others’ experience. When folks tell their truth, people explore, discover, and learn from each other.
- Room. We always make room for one more — even the one who’s different. Inclusion is important.
- Respect. Every member has a place to stand and the chance to speak. Everyone is interesting and valued.
- Rules and Responsibility. The rules are few, but the standards are high. Occasional misbehaviors are handled in gentle ways. People notice and know they don’t have to worry about such things.
- Gratitude. People only have so much time. It’s a gift that they’re spending part of their life in the community.
So many great communities are happening. If we step back and make room for them, so many more will be.
Truly. I know. Someone just told me about another one tonight.
Community builder = Liz Strauss. That’s simply all there is to it. Her blog Liz Strauss at Successful Blog is both a destination and an event for a fiercely loyal community of readers. She’s known as a relationship geek, a person who answers every comment, and someone who never sleeps. If you ask her about it, she’ll tell you she lives inside your computer. Some folks have started to believe that. Liz is one of the creators of SOBCon, a blogger’s event that combines learning, sharing and genuine caring.