Being a part of a community is so much fun because of the amazing things happen when you get a bunch of passionate people rallied around solving a particular problem or issue. When you’re starting out, one impediment to seeing the magic happen is discovering all the people that are in your community or who could be in your community.
When I lived in Washington, DC, even in the early days of the DC Tech/startup community, it was never that there weren’t a lot of tech or startup people in the area. It’s just that none of them knew that the others existed. Even to this day, I’m still hearing about new startups in the DC area that I’d never of before that had been there the entire time.
In DC, knowing who was in your community was especially hard because it just takes so stinking long to get to the different parts of the geographic area. Capitol Hill feels incredibly far from Dupont Circle. When you throw Tyson’s Corner into the mix, it feels like going to a different country all together. A good friend of mine lived in Bethesda that I never saw enough of because it was just hard to get up to Bethesda.
This is part of why we created the DC Tech Facebook Group. We needed a way for people to see who was who and what was going on, whether it was an event or company news. It was obvious that people just didn’t know what was going on or who was doing what. Facebook Groups allow for this a very crowd sourced manner, which has plusses & minuses.
In terms of the DC Tech community, one thing that’s helpful is now there are a handful of really great reporters (Bill Flook from the Washington Business Journal, Paul Sherman from the Potomac Tech Wire, and Steven Overly from the Washington Post) who are helping unearth and tell the stories of the interesting things that are happening in the community. There stories help the community figure out who’s who and who’s doing stuff that’s cool. But… you shouldn’t use that as your only source, otherwise you’ll miss out on a lot.
So, if you’re running a community group, what can you do to help get the stories out about who’s all in your community? How can you get folks talking about all the great things that they’re doing? How can you get people talking about all the great things that others are doing?
Once you figure this out, you’ll be seeing magic happening in your community at an accelerated rate.