“The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.” ~ William James
“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” ~ Rollo May
Today I’m joining the ‘Blogging and Friends Blog Hop’ where each writer is asked to explore and share some thoughts about online relationships and community — you can jump on board at Living with Food Allergies and Celiac Disease or Bongo Is Me.
This subject has me thinking about communities, both online and offline. I’ve had related ideas simmering on the back burner of my imagination for several months, at least. The timing seems right to seize this opportunity and turn up the heat on a project I’ve been pondering for quite some time.
So, here’s a SCOOP: I’m creating a new online blogging community called Bloggerbrook.
Imagine an intimate, authentic, sustainable online community of thinkers, writers, poets and artists where you can safely explore and express creative ideas and works to receive helpful feedback from friends and colleagues you admire and learn to trust over time. Welcome to Bloggerbrook!
Bloggerbrook will offer unique benefits which I’ve not found in any other blogging community. One big difference between Bloggerbrook and other groups is found in the infrastructure forming its foundation, which is designed specifically to promote a healthy balance between individual personal expression and solid community support over the long term.
Have you ever wondered why various communities, both online and offline, seem to start out strong with everyone working together, excited about achieving a common goal, and then they fizzle over time? Or worse, people start arguing or backstabbing each other until the community implodes and everyone goes their separate ways to start up new groups and communities. Sound familiar?
Many studies have shown that when a new community starts out, such as a networking group, a church or any other coalescing of like-minded individuals, the members of this community often feel a sense of intimacy and purpose coming together. They work toward a common goal and their excitement and enthusiasm naturally attracts more people. The more people are drawn in, the more the excitement grows! Until the group reaches about 100 members. Then, suddenly and ‘inexplicably’ everything starts to change.
That’s when conflicts begin to arise and people start breaking off relationships. As tensions mount, a scapegoat may be chosen to blame for the crisis and this person is shunned from the group. When the separation comes to pass it brings no positive results. In the end, members feel betrayed and leave the community. Some begin again in smaller communities and some create new communities of their own. Regardless of the chosen outcome, the stories replay again and again.
One reason this keeps happening is that the people involved are oblivious to what’s really going on. Some suspect that their friends have turned to the dark side, but that’s usually not the case. What’s actually causing friction is that the group has outgrown it’s capacity to nurture each member on a personal level. This phenomenon is incorrectly interpreted as the group having ‘grown apart’ or ‘they just don’t care about me anymore’ or something even uglier.
To protect Bloggerbrook from falling prey to the disheartening scenarios described above, a key component which sets this community apart from other blogging groups is that no matter how large the community grows over time, each member will maintain strong personal connections within a smaller ‘neighborhood’ group, 15 people or less, within the community at large. Your ‘neighborhood’ in this context may include people from all over the world, but you will get to know them as if they lived right next door to you. I envision the citizens of Bloggerbrook experiencing a feeling of ‘coming home’ to small town values like safety and security while growing in the art of communication and creative self-expression on the world-wide web.
In order to achieve the goals of Bloggerbrook, beginning membership will be limited to 15 participants. Over time as members develop expertise in the unique community building and communication practices which support the ongoing vision of the group, and as they feel inspired to move into leadership positions within the group, then we will gradually open to more members. I will be writing more in upcoming posts about Bloggerbrook and what it has to offer YOU, so stay tuned!
If you are interested in learning about becoming a charter member of Bloggerbrook please contact me — I’m looking forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org or you may share comments and questions in the section provided below. Thank you!.