Community building is the lifeblood of any successful web company. If you don’t have a community, you have nothing defensible long term.
Part of a strong community is a gorgeous product that works. But community doesn’t just happen by itself even if you’ve nailed the product component. How exactly do you facilitate strong community dynamics?
Community building is NOT talking to each and every community member. Great community building is facilitating interactions, conversations, relationships, and, ultimately, friendships among community members.
That’s community building 101.
That’s precisely why hospitality exchanges result in such strong community. Every single online interaction is driving toward an in person interaction where experiences and knowledge are shared. Aside from actually sleeping with someone, the most intimate relationships in life are formed by being a guest at someone’s home. You see someone’s quirky behaviors, and get a peak into their personal interests, hobbies, and tastes. You can go to coffee, lunch, or dinner – and not truly give someone any attention whatsoever. As a house guest - there is no way to avoid giving the host your attention (if you do attempt it, you’re considered extremely rude).
Every community builder knows in person conversations trump online conversations by 1,000. As a community builder, you should be doing everything possible to give your members reasons to meet each other in the real world. Enabling hospitality exchanges to occur among your community is one strategy to facilitate those meetings.