Part of a discussion from this past weekend prompted me to write down some quick thoughts on building community.
Building communities is a lot of work and a lot of magic. It starts with a shared interest though, and while it’s never as simple as always, I think that it’s easiest to build communities around products because it largely mirrors the way we work at work. It also tends to conform to the sponsor/tool ecosystem where vendors are willing to spend some money (usually in ads, but sometimes in licenses or even cash) to reach the people who use the product (and might need their supporting product/service). It’s certainly possible to build umbrella communities that are about concepts/problems that cross silos (think a ‘database’ site) and it’s possible to have a smaller community that focuses on a subset of a product, but I’d say they are less common and harder to build/maintain.
An interesting exercise is to think about which communities you value and why.