How Traditional Community Building Practices Can Translate to Web3
Online Community Building, especially for those groups based around Digital Assets, is pretty much-uncharted territory. Best practices such as DAOs, community events, and community manager roles have emerged, but it’s still the wild west and there’s so much opportunity to incorporate new ideas for community building. Let’s take a look at some wisdom from leaders of other types of communities, and think about how it can be applied to digital ecosystems.
Casper ter Kuile: Using Ritual to Build Community ⛰ “We just need to be clear about our intention (what are we inviting into this moment?), bring it to our attention (coming back to being present in this moment), and make space for repetition (coming back to this practice time and again). In this way, rituals make the invisible connections that make life meaningful, visible.” — Casper ter Kuile
Does your community practice any rituals? We’re not only talking about formal meetings, but also gatherings such as member poker nights, or Twitter Spaces to celebrate a new mint. Maybe your community has similar activities but doesn’t recognize them as particularly important or meaningful yet. As Casper ter Kuile, author of The Power of Ritual states, bringing intention, attention, and repetition to different activities or gatherings can elevate them to a more meaningful level.
Why is this important? As you create a brand where every owner is a community member, you need a catalyst that helps develop a deeper level of investment from individuals. Rituals can serve as this catalyst, but only if you help to bring deeper meaning to gatherings. Maybe there’s a great question you always ask members to answer when introducing themselves in a Twitter Space (say, for the DeskHeads, asking new members what the worst job they’ve ever had is). Or maybe, you are intentional about using your poker nights to create deeper bonds between members. No matter what it looks like, having rituals (remember: intention, attention, and repetition) instead of holding events is a great way to improve your community.
Ed Catmull: Building Creative Communities at Pixar & Embracing Conflict 🎨 “As director Brad Bird sees it, every creative organization-be it an animation studio or a record label-is an ecosystem. ‘You need all the seasons,’ he says. ‘You need storms. It’s like ecology. To view lack of conflict as optimum is like saying a sunny day is optimum. A sunny day is when the sun wins out over the rain. There’s no conflict. You have a clear winner. But if every day is sunny and it doesn’t rain, things don’t grow. And if it’s sunny all the time-if, in fact, we don’t even have night-all kinds of things don’t happen and the planet dries up. The key is to view conflict as essential because that’s how we know the best ideas will be tested and survive. You know, it can’t only be sunlight.’” — Ed Catmull/Brad Bird
You’ve probably experienced at least a couple of conflicts in your digital communities. Sometimes, a pivotal team member or community manager unexpectedly leaves and your community is left to figure out how to replace their leadership. Or, members can’t agree on what to prioritize when brainstorming new items for the roadmap. I find the notion of “view conflict as essential because that’s how we know the best ideas will be tested and survive,” both reassuring and quite brilliant. It’s okay if there’s hesitancy about a new idea: it’s probably because it’s new and different, which is a positive attribute when trying to innovate in order to improve a community.
Bob Iger: Leadership Lessons from Disney 🎡 “If leaders don’t articulate their priorities clearly, then the people around them don’t know what their own priorities should be. Time and energy and capital get wasted.”
This is such a short yet powerful quotation. If you’re a community leader, take note. Be sure to articulate not only your general values but your highest priorities. If you’re working hard to make your first 100 community members brand champions, remind your team members of that often. Here at TokenTag, our number one priority is building community. That may look different for every team member, whether it’s building community through the connections we make on our podcast, during Twitter Spaces, or building a powerful product that empowers other communities. However, having one shared priority allows each of us to ask whether our daily tasks are contributing to this goal, and decide from there how to proceed.
There’s lots of content that doesn’t explicitly relate to Digital Communities but nonetheless can inform its strategy. Whenever you’re consuming educational content, think about how it can relate to the unique nature of your own community. During Web3’s infancy stage, it’s up to community leaders to learn from their own experience and others and create new industry standards.