Community. It's a marketing buzzword, a television show, and even appears on the résumé of the commander in chief (a former community organizer himself).
Buzzword status aside, communities matter. They're the places and groups with which we identify on- and off-line. Climber, hiker, skier. Mainer, Canadian, Southerner. Boy Scout, ultralighter, thru-hiker. Trailspace community member.
I've been reflecting on what I think makes for a great online community — qualities like positive people, inclusiveness, passion, recognition, respect, investment — since I've been asked to speak on the topic at a media panel next week at Outdoor Retailer.
Then I remembered a basic community truth: Collectively, the community knows more than you do on any subject. This is closely linked to the "everyone knows something you don't" rule (and you'll likely hear from them about it sooner or later).
So, naturally, I turn to you, our esteemed and valued Trailspace community members, to help me draft my talking points. (I swear I'm not trying to get out of my homework here.)
Whether you're a forum regular, occasional gear reviewer, or new blog reader, please share your opinions, observations, and thoughts on community below. For example:
- What do you think makes a good community? And why be part of one?
- How did you discover Trailspace? And what made you stick around?
- What turns you on to some communities and off of others?
- What make a community authentic or not?
- What does an online community like Trailspace give you?
- What do you hope to give back to the community?
- Why write a review, instruct a newbie, share gear info?
- What does community, and the Trailspace community, mean to you?
Despite the homework mention above, this is not a test, but a chance to share your observations and experiences, good and bad, just like you do on gear every day in our community forums and gear reviews.
Because I can't talk about community, without including you.