Bonding A Community: The Final Step

October 6, 2009Comments Off

First snippet from my upcoming ebook:


The final step in bonding a community is shared memorable experiences.

The problem is most experiences on the internet aren’t memorable. We interact with so many people online, how can any single experience be memorable? The drip-method doesn't work. One thousand unmemorable experiences don’t build up into anything memorable.

So what do we remember? We remember experiences that are intense. We remember experiences that caused us to reach emotional peaks (high or low). We remember experiences that involved our concentration and that challenged us. We remember experiences that engaged us in the moment.

Creating more intense moments within your community becomes crucial. There is a wonderful shortcut to creating an intense experience. You take almost any normal experience and speed it up. Reduce the time delay between interactions.

When you reduce the time delay between action and response, the experience becomes more memorable. Receiving an instant reply to a comment is far more memorable than receiving a reply 6 hours later. You can respond again, quickly and so can everyone else. The comment is no longer on the mental back burner but at the forefront of your thoughts.

The quicker (not necessarily shorter) the experience, the more memorable it becomes. You can’t get exceptionally happy or angry about conversations that unfold over months. Reduce those conversations to minutes and you wont forget it.

I bet the most memorable experiences of your life took place in a very short period of a time…a matter of minutes, perhaps seconds.

What, practically, can you do then?

First, If you run a thriving community already, you can arrange to meet. People that meet in person simply have a shared experience that others don’t. This bonds them. You don’t get more intense than a group of community members talking to each other round a table. Every conversation, body movement and facial expression receives an instant response. Conversations that might take years to take place online are reduced to minutes. That’s intense stuff, memorable too.

Second, you can decide to speed up your community. Make responses to interactions quicker (perhaps have a default rating/unique response to each?). Make the overall community more intense, more addictive. There is a way to direct influence this.

Pick 10 top members and spend a few weeks quickly responding to their actions. Get these members returning daily instead of weekly, perhaps even hourly instead of daily. As these members reply to read your responses (and responses from others) they’ll interact with others. Who then also return more frequently. The ripples spread. Make sure ping-notices of new comments is opt-out, not opt-in. More people return more often. The community speeds up.

Finally, you can pick a time. If you don’t have the power to meet in person, nor engage in interacting with members more frequently, you can pick a time for interactions to take place. Decide a peak activity time. How about 8pm until 10pm, for interactions to take place. During this peak time lots of members come and talk to each other. For these short hours, you create intense experiences together. You arrange guest speakers, have audio chats and plan interesting topics/challenges/events together. 

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