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Building Community Without the Noise

When I first launched Do the Woo, I had written a post about this. I wanted to pull a bit from that before I bring you to-date.

My first thoughts on community and noise

Dated October 20, 2020

Tomorrow comes the official launch of this new site. And let me tell you, it’s been an amazing journey of learning and understanding myself as well as the audience I will be speaking to.

One interesting aspect of this is the main goal, connecting the Woo builder community. I talked about this on a previous post, but I would like to dive into the concept of connecting. And conversation.

I was asked about groups for Do the Woo

What brought the idea of Facebook groups to mind was something that happened as I have been chatting with various people about my new site. When I talk about connections, conversation and community, a few times I was asked,

Are you creating a Slack Channel? Starting a Facebook group? Perhaps a forum? Where are you growing your community and letting them have a conversation?

When we go into or lurk in community chats, whether it’s a Facebook group, regular chatter on any social platform or even Slack, often we end up in the middle of a massive amount of noise. There is a lot going on. Conversations going left and right. Sometimes with a bit of anxiety, bitterness, and yes, anger.

Now I’m not saying that nothing good comes out of these conversations. But that isn’t the only way to connect and grow a community.

It can start with this, the art of listening. Remember when that was part of connecting? Taking the time to listen to someone else share their insights and perspectives. Getting a better understanding of that person, and often, the community they are representing. In fact, get three people together for a good conversation and I can guarantee that you will get a lot more out of it vs. endless streams and threads of online chatter.

Let’s take it a step further, though: personal connection. Learning about someone and then reaching out to them. Or perhaps, even having a connector that will help to introduce you to others in the community.

Yes, that’s it. I am the connector.

Whether it’s via a podcast conversation or a post interview, I am connecting you to a new face. Or it might even be me connecting you personally with someone else.

I get enough of that noise, or what you might consider chatter amongst dozens of people via social and other platforms. And yes, I enjoy that. But with Do the Woo, I am cutting through that noise while bringing the Woo builder community together.

So in the end, when I do conversations, they are one-on-one. A Zoom chat. A DM on Slack. Email and a variety of other ways. The point is, again, no matter how or where you do it, listen.

Now it’s today

So I was hoping as you read that you hung onto the fact that I wrote this over three years ago.

Since then, it has since resonated with me and, to be honest, I think it has always been a part of how I have built my own communities. The fact is we all do it in some way. For Woo builders, while keeping it on the business side of things, it may be a community of customers or clients. It may also be a community within a business you work for, or perhaps, colleagues of yours.

You may also build communities around you brand or business on your site, on social, on Slack, you name it.

There are community experts out there that will give you advice. There are also social media consultants that will do the same, specifically for social communities. The thing is that one size doesn’t fit all. And often that is what you will discover over and over when seeking advice on building your own community.

I have been building community long before I got into the WordPress space in 2006. With our other business, there were ways that we built our community, and some of this was long before we did it online. I don’t proclaim to be an expert on community building, but I can share my own experiences that have worked for me. No promises here that I will deliver the perfect piece of advice for your needs, but I am hoping this will give you a bit of a different perspective on community building and something to ponder on.

A community does not need a bunch of noise

Now before I get into this part, understand that this is how it works for me, and in these last few years with Do the Woo, it has proven right for me. And by no means am I saying it’s the right way, or the only way.

I just feel that a lot of people never think about other options when building community. They tend to “jump on the bandwagon” of engagement and active conversation as the only way to build all communities.

Engage, or die

Community and social media experts say you must engage. Or else why do it? Your community will not thrive without this engagement. It often is literally rammed down your throat. At the same time, engagement isn’t always clearly defined, and seen as this constant need to reply, comment and add your own opinion, advice or simply be part of the conversation, no matter what.

In fact, I have seen social media experts take “engagement” to a new and disturbing level. They constantly drop into conversations with replies like “nice”, “that’s great”, “cool” and “yeah”. If that is considered engagement, well, count me out. In fact, shouldn’t engagement also mean bringing value to a conversation. Not simple, meaningless replies that help you as they build up your metrics in your social media engagements.

Everyone has an opinion

This is the beauty of the human race. We all have an opinion and can freely express it. But on the other hand, at times, it’s nothing but added noise. How often do you see a thread of a conversation and it appears that most of the comments are left by people who never read what others have said. And alarmingly, more people appear to never have read the original comment.

As a result, it comes across as being all about “you”. You and what your opinion. It’s like a freaking room of people just shouting out what they are thinking, and ignoring everyone else. Nothing gets resolved and more times than not, it can turn sideways and end up being a never-ending debate or argument, instead of a discussion.

Now with both engagement and conversations, it’s not cut and dry. And neither of them are something that you should consider totally dismissing. In fact, depending on the goal of your own community, you may just ignore the advice I have given you so far.

With that all said, I simply bring these up to give you another thought to ponder on as you build your own community.

Where is this all going

This has turned into quite the long post and if you are still with me, I’m amazed. But hey, it also means you are listening, or perhaps, reading.

Do the Woo now has 14 co-hosts and more coming on board. On top of that I am constantly having people come in and host their own show, more of a one-off opporunity. And who knows what is next.

The fact is that each time you hear a show on Do the Woo, and you don’t hear me, well, that’s because I was listening. Behind the scenes, taking notes, and enjoying the conversations. Sure there is what you might consider noise in our community, but it’s softer, more viable and easy to focus on. There is a time and place for lots of noise in many communities, and that is where it will thrive and stay. But for now, I’m in my happy place.

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