Thoughts flood my mind. My heart races. I am filled with passion and have so much to say that I almost can’t stand it. I write posts and wake up to find I dreamed them. This is one such.
“Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?”
This prompt, as I said to Cali, is my favourite so far. I live to connect, commune and create.
I wanted to write this post SO much that instead of an hour, it took me 2 days. I spent those 2 days reading other posts, sharing & commenting on them. Kinda fitting, ay 🙂
It is 4pm.
The doorbell rings.
Outside stand 2 friends of my mom’s who’ve decided to drop by for a cuppa. I say hello & she welcomes them in with smiles and animated surprise. As I brew tea, they all sink their bodies comfortably into the sofas and draw their feet up.
Stories start. So and so’s child is going to engineering school, someone else’s sister is getting married, my health issues are finally getting better, life is so unpredictable, life is so beautiful, so what are your plans darling?
A couple of hours go by. There are smiles, laughter, head shakes. And then they leave.
I grew up in a magical community where no one called before dropping by, where I’d come home from school one day to ecstatically find my favourite uncle was on leave from the Army and had surprised us with a visit.
To be even more ecstactic to know he’d be staying with us for a month.
Many tears were shed as he left.
I wake up in the morning, log onto facebook. I speed through the updates on my home page, over 1000 friends with so much to say. As I click a few interesting links, I simultaneously open a few more browsers.
I tweet, read, blog, write, comment, respond, laugh, roll my eyes, skim, skip, get enamoured. I chat with a few friends on facebook here, a skype call with another there.
Coaches Training Institute, where I trained & certified as a Coach.
A community of inspired, fabulous beings dedicating their lives to something bigger than them. The support, camaraderie and connection is furthered every time I assist a course for them.
One I love so much that I’m a self proclaimed honorary member and predisposed to fall in love with all MB coaches. One day I might do the actual coach training, just because.
I’ve been an unconventional traveller, leading from the heart for over 13 years. It took me till this year, when I found myself drawn to these incredibly passionate, off beat and lifestyle leaders, all living lives their way, full of courage & integrity, to understand that I didn’t want to be like them, I WAS them.
A phenomenal tribe of leaders and game changers that I met in March 2010 in Vancouver. The privilege of meeting and connecting with these people alone was worth the price of admission. Every day, I continue to learn from them and their insights.
When I tried for 2 years to get the local CTI community going and wasn’t getting far with it, I started my own Coffee with Coaches group so we could meet in person, learn from and support each other twice a month.
This then led to a Talkshoe series with coach Tanya Geisler, a CTI & Twitter community friend, so that non Vancouver coaches could join us. I’d love to pick it up again in 2011 and have more coaches join us.
Every Sunday from 6-7pm PST, hosted by @MackCollier. Community, blogging, learning. This is a lot of fun and very informative, my top #tag chat pick.
Just when I thought it cldn’t get any better, along came #reverb10 and the “vanguard of blogging bravery” as I call the 3000+ bloggers, now participating in daily reflection, writing, sharing, supporting and loving.
You, who are reading and by doing so, becoming a part of the community at Your Life YOUR Way. Every comment, every email you write, has an impact. On me, on others. Thank you for your time, presence and contribution. Keep sending those ripples out k?
Faces have changed, the way we connect has changed.
But still, it remains.
I wanted to end this with a few quick tips about creating an online community as so many #reverb10ers have amazing content to share but are unknowingly stopping a community from forming on their blogs.
Quick Tips to Creating a Blog Community (or, warm, happy pigs instead of crickets)
1) Allow comments that require just a name and url instead of the default setting that only allows fellow wordpress/blogger or open ID and google sign ups on blogger.com or wordpress.com sites. The more complicated it is for someone to leave a comment, the faster someone will just click away.
2) Use the comment notification plugin so every time you reply to a comment, an email automatically gets sent to the original commentor so they can come back and respond if they want. This way, you ensure that the conversation continues.
3) Ask questions. In your posts, in comments, create a poll. What do your readers think? What do they want? What do they feel? How can you help them? Respond to comments – you’re hosting this gig, would you have people over and then not talk to them? Same.
4) Easy navigation. Many sites have SO much going on in terms of widgets, blog posts, buttons, badges, blogrolls, social media icons etc that readers can get overwhelmed and leave without commenting. Besides, where’s YOU in the midst of all that noise?
5) Make it readable. Nix the white font on dark background put-a-fork-in-my-eye design you’ve got going. Why would I stick around to read and give myself a headache in the process, unless you’re my mom?
6) Get out of your blog. You wouldn’t have a party without inviting others, right? Not visiting other blogs and commenting or creating relationships with other writers is the blogging equivalent. If you want people to come to your party, you’ve got to invite them. And go to theirs!
7) Let them hear your VOICE. Inject personality into everything you write. There are over 20million blogs floating around, the only thing that’s going to have people hanging around yours, is if you have a distinctive voice that is totally YOU.
There you go, something you can start doing today.
I’d love to hear how do you create community online & offline. And if you enjoyed this post, do share it, thanks!