I’m currently part of two different online communities which coincidentally both declared that things had slowed too far down and they were interested in boosting participation. After the leaders declared this, there hasn’t been any show of renewed commitment from them and the posts that I’ve written in response to their call for assistance have gone unanswered, even by them.
Is online community some pie in the sky vision that lots of people imagine would be cool but no one likes the reality of?
To me the advantages, while not outweighing actual real-time community, are many:
- The chance to meet and interact with an infinitely broad range of people
- The chance to communicate at any time of day, even when it would be rude to call someone, and your words can be accessed when it is convenient for the reader
- Developing a network of people who can help each other, offer advice based on their individual expertise and/or experience, so that whatever issue someone is having, someone will know someone who might be able to help
- Permanent community that won’t be affected by any kind of relocation in the real world – so that if change your job or move to another town or whatever, the online community will be in the same place and easily accessible, whereas with coworkers, neighbors and such, it is usually “out of sight, out of mind”
There are surely other positive aspects that I just can’t bring to mind yet. I myself have tried to start Wise Way Tribe in a couple of different forums, but just could not get anyone to give enough of a crap. Sometimes it would hurt my feelings but other times it just seemed like that was the way life was. You can lead a horse to water, kind of thing. You can’t make anyone share your vision.
So with these two communities, supposedly in renewal, it is someone else’s vision, which I am taking seriously and trying to throw my energy behind, and not even the admins are taking it seriously. On one I even applied to be a moderator of a forum and it’s been almost 72 hours with not a word. Shouldn’t an admin strike while the iron is hot? Get that person on board before they lose interest? (Of course, it’s entirely possible that they are not accepting my application, but that seems even more ridiculous.)
It makes me feel like a naive little girl, thinking that a tea party would be fun so she gets the table set and her party dress on, but no one shows up. Now I’m here with the tea getting cold and the cucumber sandwiches curling up at the edges, and it’s not even my party.