How to Build Community

CommunityMy friend Amber, owner of Minty Fresh Design, just wrote a short article about her little community.  She just moved to a tiny little town in northwest Washington and loves it.  In the post, she mentions a poster titled “How to Build Community” which I thought was pretty relevant for those of us who help, manage, facilitate or build communities online.  Take the physical suggestions and modify them for online communities and you’ll end up with one of the coolest and tightest communities possible.

Oh, and Fat Burger’s motto is pretty relevant here too – “We’re not for everybody.”  Don’t try to be.

How to Build Community
Turn off your TV
Leave your house
Know your neighbors
Look up when you are walking
Greet people
Sit on your stoop
Plant flowers
Use your library
Play together
Buy from local merchants
Share what you have
Help a lost dog
Take children to the park
Garden together
Support neighborhood schools
Fix it even if you didn’t break it
Have pot lucks
Honor elders
Pick up litter
Read stories aloud
Dance in the street
Talk to the mail carrier
Listen to the birds
Put up a swing
Help carry something heavy
Barter for your goods
Start a tradition
Ask a question
Hire young people for odd jobs
Organize a block party
Bake extra and share
Ask for help when you need it
Open your shades
Sing together
Share your skills
Take back the night
Turn up the music
Turn down the music
Listen before you react to anger
Mediate a conflict
Seek to understand
Learn from new and uncomfortable angles
Know that no one is silent though many are not heard. Work to change this.

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

7 Comments on "How to Build Community"

  1. Jim Storer says:

    Hey Nate – I love this post. It’s a great idea to get folks thinking about offline community before embarking on a virtual community project. People have been putting signs like “Ham & Bean Supper – Thursday” and “Concert Here – Wednesday” out on lawns and greens for centuries and it seems to just work. Great ideas here in this post.

    Thanks – Jim

  2. Thanks for sharing Amber’s list, Nate. It’s a good one. Now we should make a companion list for online communities.

  3. nate says:

    Jim, thanks. All the credit goes to Amber though. Personally, I like the ones about helping people out. Those seem to build community faster stronger than many of the others, so I’m kinda partial. But, it takes more than just helping people to grow a community.

    Bryan, I completely agree. A companion list for online communities would be cool. If you build it, I will link. :)

  4. Tim Bowes says:

    Good thinking batman.

  5. Shutterhack says:

    Thanks for having my humble photo in the header of the post. It’s an honour, really.

  6. nate says:

    Shutterhack, my pleasure. Your photos are awesome, so thanks for being good at it. :)

  7. Andy says:

    Turn off your TV… I agree but maybe you should also add turn off your PC ;)

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