A familiar story last week.
Someone tried to start a community of practice within a niche field.
He reached out to prospective members. They all agreed it was a good idea and seemed keen to be involved. He created a group on an existing social network, initiated a few discussions, and invited them to join.
Then nothing much really happened. Few people replied. Discussions never really took off. Within 2 weeks the community was pretty much dead.
On paper, the founder had done almost everything right.
But the community was missing a spark. It was missing the oomph.
It was missing the thing that was going to make this community more exciting than anything else they can do at the time. It’s very hard to build a community if you’re going through the motions.
Sometimes the oomph is just the overwhelming passion and belief of the founder. Some people are simply magnetic and make communities happen. Sometimes it’s daring to do something new for the first time, maybe something that might not work. Sometimes it’s an especially exciting, audacious, goal. Sometimes it’s a feeling of having a secret and flying under the radar. etc…
I’d love to be able to list how to put the oomph into your community. But it doesn’t really work like that. You have to spend enough time with your audience that you notice things no-one else does. Maybe an unmet desire, or a cluster of people forming, or a desire for change.
Then you have to have desire and belief to think you can make it happen.