What do you do when someone in your community stumbles (professionally or personally)?
Do a number of members respond with encouraging words to cheer them up?
“You’ll do better next time!”
“Don’t worry, things will be ok!”
“You deserve better than that anyway!”
While well intentioned, the authors would probably admit they really have no idea if these are true.
Blind empathy between strangers isn’t very useful in the long-term. Any random group of friends can give the member the same blind empathy. The power of an online community is to provide practical support. It’s to have members who can step in and say:
“This happened to me too, here are 3 things you can do to do better next time…”
“You can get help from these sources….”
“A few things to consider if this is the right path for you..”
Don’t just commiserate with members, help them put together a practical plan of action to do better next time.
Not as heartwarming perhaps, but in the long-term, it’s far more valuable to members.
Your challenge when you see members who are sharing a struggle is to have you, your team or volunteers step in and challenge members to provide their best advice to help members…not just encouraging words.