Ultimately, when the great tide of novelty recedes, it's only members that have built relationships with each other that remain. They keep coming back to talk to their friends.
We need a long-term perspective. We need to focus on the lifetime value of members. If you demand short-term results, you build a short-term community. You build a community based upon clicks.
Clicks represent reactions to stimuli. People click to become members, respond to a discussion, share content. Clicks are measurable, but irrelevant to the long-term success of a community. When something new comes along, you lose the clickers. Your efforts are wasted – you will have to start again.
If you're working on a long-term perspective (more than a year), you know that building relationships is key.
Relationships aren't built upon clicks. Relationships are built upon meaningful interactions. Relationships are built upon increasing levels of self-disclosure, gradual (gradual!) development of trust and familiarity.
It's worth spending time to build a good relationship with a single member. Five years later, there's a good chance the member will still be participating.
It's worth introducing two members to each other. That relationship keeps them both active for years.
It's worth connecting a few members with a common interest together. That can become the foundation for a group that grows for many years.
All these seemingly insignificant, low-impact, tasks (at least in the short term), keep paying off for years.
When you build relationships, make connections between members and assiduously cultivate friendships groups – you build a community for a decade, not for a year.
Surely that's what we should be doing?