When I think of what drew me to various communities: it is the shared experiences of joy and discovery.
Whether it's my days as a teen playing Runescape, or browsing geocatching logs and forums, attending swim camps or later on college film clubs and sports banter — the things that brought me to most communities in the first place is most often joy and discovery.
Now that I've made a career as a community builder — I'm not sure that this has really changed. In fact, these are two things that I'm really enjoying about some of the new communities I'm in as well.
Inspired by Rosie Sherry — I'm taking a moment to set my community intention.
I'm setting my community intentions with joy and discovery in mind.✨
When I participate in communities — I aim to participate in a way that facilitates not only joy, but also discovery for not just myself, but for those around me.
The importance of joy in gathering
Why do people gather in the first place? I'd argue that there's an underlying goal of having fun with others. More than ever, it's important for us to create spaces that suprise and delight members. It's been a rough year, and this community boom isn't going away anytime soon.
It's natural to come to places that we are having fun, and while we're having fun, we are more likely to be learning something as well. I'm reminded of what my friend, Jeff Harry, would say — how are you finding time to play?
His tiktoks, and his workshops if you're ever fortunate enough to take one (of which I strongly encourage!) are all centered around how to use play, and subsequently joy to gather and bring people together. When you give yourself the permission to be silly and have fun, you also make yourself more open to new ideas, opportunities, and break down your barriers — imho, all good things.
The importance of discovery in gathering
In Rosieland HQ's cohort course, we chatted about how community can be a way that you go somewhere or do something together. For me, a chronic learning lover — community is a way for me to learn something new or discover something great together.
Community is a way to discuss ideas, talk about new ways of doing something, build something new, think about a new way of doing something— you're constantly discovering something.
I'm reminded of the words in Clay Shirky's book, Cognitive Surplus. Our brains are so so powerful, it's now just up to us to tap into that power. We'll do so through using our social skills to learn, and dare I say — discover — together.
How I'm going to facilitate joy and discovery in gathering:
- I will tell someone when I enjoyed what they created or contributed
- I will ask thoughtful, mindful questions
- I will contribute meaningfully and with curiosity in conversation.
- I will look for wins to celebrate.
- I will take time to incorporate play and joy in spaces I'm in.
I'm curious what actions do you find that bring you joy and discovery in communities that you belong to?