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Which comes first, the platform or the people?


Do you build a spectacular place for people to hang out, get information, talk to each other, buy things, and then invite them in?


Or do you build excitement within a tight group of people with a specific common interest and then create a place for them to gather?





Unless you enjoy frustration, the second answer is correct. It's exceedingly difficult to begin a community from a "cold start." Don't get me wrong, technology is cool and all, but only in service to the humans who need it. If you have no humans, you have no community.


A further note for aspiring community-builders: it really helps if you are part of the tight group of people, rather than an outside force trying to artificially start something.  


For reference, take a second look at our interview with Morgan Luce of Vermont Farm & Garden. She did it right, and a year later, her community is thriving! (She's got the chickens and the eggs.)



Image via Flickr CC: LollyKnit


I'd love to hear your thoughts here in the comments, or connect with me on Twitter.


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  • chicken-flickr: Online community: chicken or the egg?

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I know this is old but it caught my eye (well both of them actually.

My take on this is, you do indeed tread a fine line between creating the right kind of platform for a community. 

Engaging them in the creation is one way. Allowing people to have their input is very good but everyone has a different opinion so you have to start with an adaptive base.

The big question is how do you get them in the first place? Of the millions of people out there who do you reach out to with your invites. I guess you have to capture their imagination and ask them to get involved.

So I think they have to be there to see the egg hatched.

James Rutherford
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