|My lemon tree - started from a tiny seed!|
It reminds me that we can start things that are tiny and with the proper care it will grow and produce fruit. Next thing you know, there is a grove of lemon trees!
A week ago, I created a virtual community. First, thank you for accepting my invitation to join this community. The fact that you have said YES, tells me I made the right choice. The idea for this community came to me after listening to a podcast on social connectedness. We have an innate desire to be connected to other humans. Do you ever feel lonely within a group of people? Do you ever feel that your contribution does not matter? For some time I have been feeling disconnected on social media platforms. I really didn't feel a connection with people who were my "friends" and I decided to change that, and in order to do that, it was clear I had to change myself first. I had to be more open and engage other like-minded people. I considered the friends I had and chose specific individuals who I felt had the characteristics and personality to grow my community. I then carefully considered the first group of people to invite. Each person in the first group in my mind is a game changer and has a unique ability to show up in life for others.
I knew it would be a challenge, and I do like a challenge. The challenge is that people have long established ways of behaving on social media. Some people don't like change; however for this new community to be different and engage its members on an authentic level people must want it to be involved not just passive observers. This is an exciting experiment.
Like my lemon plant, it was started by a single seed, and the fact that you have accepted my invitation to be part of this community tells me that you do want a new experience, an engaging experience, a deeper understanding of the members in this community. Where this will lead I am not sure. Where I hope it will lead is a satisfaction that you matter to a community and that your input is valued. You may not know this but you are in the company among some pretty awesome people. I trust them implicitly. They are of the highest integrity and authenticity and come from many different backgrounds and interest. If I was shipwrecked and landed on an island I would want them there with me to build a new community.
The first thing I did was to create this online virtual community. I wrote a note explaining my intention for the community, including what I hoped and expected from the people I invited into the community
1. Introduce yourself to the community.
2. If you invite others to join the community, really think about who they are. Do they have the characteristics and personality to add to the community? Will they be active participants? Introduce them like you would in "real life" to your friends. Let them know why you think they would be good community members.
3. Be an active participant in discussions.
4. Commit to the group, and give it the time to develop into a healthy community. The more you give, the more you will get out of it. The more satisfaction you will feel, and the more connected you will feel. I also gave a promise of what they could expect from me.
5. Be yourself, be authentic.
6. Have fun!
My observation a week into this experiment is that I am going to have to give it some time because old habits are difficult to change. On Facebook we are used to watching posts go by as we live our busy lives.
It is also a lot to expect of people to open up themselves to a group of strangers, even if they have been connected by someone they all know. Community member are still in the observation stage. But I am encouraged because the calibre of people in the community is there. And some good content has been posted. I will give people time to observe and get comfortable and to see if this is a community they would be proud to be part of.