Recently Google announced the launch of a new feature for Google+, Communities. Since the announcement there have already been 20,478 communities created (according to circlecount.com). Community topics range from things as broad as Space (35,252 members) to things as small as Miniature Gaming (189 members).
The success of these communities will rely greatly on the amount of time and effort that has been put into them. Creating a broad topic and failing to moderate will quickly turn your community into the Wild West, filled with off-topic conversation and tons of spammers. However, if you mix the right ingredients, you can grow a vibrant community full of rich conversation, new discoveries and awesome connections.
If you want to create a community, but haven’t decided what to make it about, let me give you a suggestion: think local.
One of the things that Google+ offered us was the ability to connect with everyone around the world and discover people with like-minded interests. Now all of this discovering has been a lot of fun, but it doesn’t mean much when you’re not at the computer or using the app on your phone. Luckily, I have begun to make a lot of local real-life connections through Google+ that I meet and spend time with in the real world (thank you #Ingress).
There are millions of cool and interesting things happening around the world, some of which you might be able to participate in, but for the most part, probably not. It’s important to get out from behind the keyboard and your touchscreen and interact with the real world.
I created a community called Nashville+ because I was beginning to notice other members of the the Nashville “community” (funny how that word has another meaning, eh?) starting to embrace Google+. There was a huge opportunity to connect those users and give them the conduit to share interesting stories, photography, local news and other things like restaurant reviews.
The Google+ community I created is pretty small and somewhat stagnant at the moment and I’m fine with that. Like any good community, I want to make sure I have the correct foundation before I start bringing in the people to keep it moving. Once I get the categories sorted out that I like and plant some seeds for conversation, I’ll start contacting local businesses and individuals and offer them the opportunity to connect with other community members.
One thing to be careful of, though, is to make sure that the community doesn’t turn into a giant billboard. The last thing I need is every restaurant and bar posting their specials every day. What I would like to see is people sharing their experiences with different businesses and events. I would like to see people showing the human side of the community. Because, that’s really what community is all about.
Nashville+ is in its infancy, but I already have a few great things planned.
Do you have an idea for a local digital community? What are your plans for success?