Community Building November 17, 2020

Networking (for Nerds) and Building a Community's Story

John Saddington @8bit


At the end of the day, all of them boil down to one thing – make it easy for the other person – to remember you, to help, and to meet.

via Benjamin Reinhardt

Really useful:

In my experience, there’s a direct correlation between how well I create a distinct projection and people’s ability to help.

The trick is that projections are small and can only hold a few pieces of information (rule of thumb – about three.) In order to maximize the effectiveness of your projections, figure out which things you want to be associated with in people’s heads and be excited about them.

Nothing is more memorable than distinct excitement.

The ability to craft and mold these projections to your own use and liking is a real power-move and something that everyone can do, without much work.

How do you do this? Create stories. Meaningful ones:

How do you build a strong projection? A strong story. Stories stick in people’s heads better than anything else. Make sure you have a good one. All you need is a short narrative with at least one compelling character (you), a captivating theme, and some kind of narrative arc.

Thankfully, we all have enough of these to put a few together that we can use at-will and in most (social) situations — taking even a small amount of time to think through this can have a profound effect.

The same dynamic happens for not just people but also projects, businesses, organizations, and communities! Intentionally thinking about the compelling story(ies) in and around your new project is important; just as important as being able to communicate them clearly and effectively.

What exactly is the story that your community is telling? What are their collective struggles? What does "success" look like? What is the "narrative arc" that a member of your community will encounter and experience?

Building a community's story isn't difficult, but, most folks haven't spent much time (at all) working on it — is it any wonder why many communities fail to properly launch, grow, and mature?

  1. 2

    I love this, John! We haven't done a great job thinking about storytelling for The Codex community, but this is something I plan to do now.

    Get Together is a great book on community and highly recommend to anyone who hasn't read it. Linus Lee also writes about community and have enjoyed some of his thoughts.

    1. 2

      thank you for that resource!

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