TL;DR: Delve into the initial insights from Amber Atherton's "The Rise of Virtual Community" as we discover the importance of experimentation, the art of hosting, rituals, direct interaction, stimuli(?), and the power of welcoming.
1. Experiment and Engage
In the early days of a virtual community, Jane, a budding community manager, decided to stick rigidly to one community feature (LFG), despite subtle nudges from her community that they sought diversity. One day she finally listened to the community opening up a fan-art competition. It turned out that her communities have more artists than gamers over time. Amber Atherton mentions that it is important to adapt and experiment so that a community can thrive. By iterating based on feedback and adjusting the offerings, Jane tapped into the evolving needs and desires of her community, leading to heightened engagement.
Even when you found out a unique value propositions for your community, keep checking in to make sure that they are still valid. When we engage with one creator, we notice that his fan compositions change dramatically as he grows. You always want to iterate and experiment with new offers for the community.
2. The Graceful Art of Hosting
Imagine entering a party where you know no one. Now, think of the host introducing you around, matching you with like-minded individuals, and ensuring you're comfortable. That’s the power of a good host. Drawing parallels, Amber and Howard Rheingold advocate for such active, attentive hosting in virtual communities. Personalizing the experience ensures members feel seen and valued, making them more likely to engage.
3. Rituals & Recognitions
There was a virtual community where, every Friday, members would share their week's achievements, however big or small. This simple ritual, over time, became the highlight of the week for many. Rituals, as Amber underscores, create a sense of anticipation and belonging. They act as anchors around which communities can bond and look forward to. One of the early web3 tactics is to encourage users to check in by saying "gm". When it was first adopted, the strategies were incredibly effective in getting people to engage and connect regularly.
4. Direct Interaction and Feedback
Stacy Horn's dedication to directly engaging with her members reminds us of a cafe owner who knows each regular's favorite drink. Such personal touches transform transactional exchanges into relationships. Similarly, virtual communities that engage in direct dialogues, value feedback, and make members feel heard are more likely to foster trust and loyalty. In fact, as featured in our blog about Kanpai Pandas, direct feedback from the users is crucial in determining where the project goes.
5. Stimulus and Stories
Much like a campfire around which people gather to hear tales, communities need their share of stories, content, or exclusives. Drawing from Lance Priebe's insights, it’s the fresh content, the shared stories, and the new experiences that act as sparks, keeping members intrigued and coming back for more.
6. The Power of Welcoming
Lucas was new to the community. Unsure where to start, he received a personalized welcome message guiding him to threads that aligned with his interests. This gesture, highlighted by Caterina Flake, showcases the potency of a warm welcome. Proper onboarding sets the foundation for active community participation and ensures members feel at home from day one. As a tip, a welcome from a founder means a lot to the new member. Don't forget to tag the users on Discord!
Amber Atherton’s early lessons from "The Rise of Virtual Community" beautifully capture the foundational aspects of community-building. By understanding and implementing these lessons, we pave the way for engaged, vibrant communities.