Seven pieces of advice #7: Treat your online community like a garden

large__2833540510I would recommend (non-profit) organizations to treat their possible online community like a garden. Ian Dickson, an inspiring community expert, gave me the following advice about this aspect:

You can’t create Community. You can create Content, and you can outreach to people to empower them through that content and then you might end up with a community. Community is like a garden – seeds (technology) you can buy and planting (content) you can do too, but to turn that into a garden takes long term hands on effort”.

I recommend (non-profit) organizations to be patient with the results of their online community efforts. Like Ian Dickson says, you cannot just “create a community”. In theory you can build one. In practice, it will only be a community as long as people start to feel a passion for the community and regularly come back to deliver contributions to it. Every successful community started small. Do you know how Facebook looked like when it was just hosted? Quite boring and ugly. Thus, it takes time to make and keep a community vibrant and lively. But it can be worth the effort and patience. So treat your online community like a garden. If you give it enough attention, love, and beautiful plants (interesting content), I am convinced your community will grow, flourish and prosper. Yet be patient.

Until next time,

Anne-Sophie Gaspersz

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Photo credit: linh.ngan via photopin cc

Photography: Bùi Linh Ngân

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