Friday, September 9, 2011

How Do We Build An Online Community?

I’ve been thinking about what it takes to build an online community.  What I know so far is this:  it takes a lot of time and effort!  On the surface, it sounds easy.  However, it is far more than getting a certain number of likes on a Facebook page, or a few comments on a blog.

When my mother died, my community stepped forward and provided food, love, support and companionship.  When we realized our fifth lovely and sweet grand daughter was also a Down Syndrome baby, my community was there again expressing their love, support and participating in our excitement and joy. 

On the giving side of community, I have provided meals, sat in silence with someone who had lost a loved one, wrote an encouraging note, ran errands for someone who was ill.

I realize that the time to build community is before we need it and it requires the giving of self.  The degree to which we give is so often directly related to the degree of receiving.   Giving of self is not always easy.  We might feel vulnerable, or we might think that our giving isn’t good enough or important enough.  The fact is, we all have value; we all matter; we all have experiences that can be of benefit to others.

My desire to create an online community of people encouraging and supporting each other is deep seated.  I truly feel called to do this.  So I am reaching out to ask you what do you think it takes to build community?  What are your thoughts about the best way to create an online community?

I appreciate any and all comments.

1 comment:

Peter said...

I agree that it's sometimes difficult to reach out. It can be difficult to reach out when you're busy with life and building community is low on your list of priorities, and it can be even more difficult to reach out when you're feeling beat up by life, which is when you need community the most! I am trying to reach out to a few people every day, whether I "feel like it" or not. With social media this is easier than ever, and I feel that over time it will help my community grow and thrive.