The next time your boss, client or co-worker says, “How do we build a community?” answer them with this:

Invite someone to it.

Ben Thomas, creator of under-the-radar but useful tools like SalaryScout and LeadVine, was listening to London Geek Dinner podcasts one night and caught some inspiration from Lloyd Davis, founder of the Tuttle Club in the United Kingdom. He had an idea to build a community around technology in Louisville, Ky. Ben knew a few folks in town in the developer/programmer community. He also had some friends who were starting to get into this blogging and social media thing. It was the summer of 2006.

Louisville Geek Dinner - August 2009

Louisville Geek Dinner - August 2009

Ben sent out some emails and started circulating word that he would host something called Louisville Geek Dinner. He invited people under no pretense. Just come, meet fellow geeks, talk shop, hang out, have a drink.

He invited someone to it.

The concept was interesting enough that 49 people showed up.

LGD has had five more events since. The attendance of each, in order, has been 30, 55, 93, 118 and 153. The event has sponsors. They give away T-shirts. But the premise is still beautifully simple. Come, meet fellow geeks, talk shop, hang out, have a drink.

It’s a community. And perhaps the sweetest irony of it all is the community happens without technology.

It happens because you invite someone to it.

Louisville Geek Dinner v0.7 is Monday, August 24th at 6:00 p.m. ET at Bluegrass Brewing Company on Shelbyville Road in the St. Matthews neighborhood in Louisville. I’d like to invite you to join us.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog and signature Explore events. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.facebook.com/s.lamar.johnson Lamar Johnson

    Excellent post. Simple concept, outstanding results. People like to be around people they like. Think I will send out some emails today.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Lamar. LGD is certainly something we're proud of. Appreciate the passing on!

  • http://AlexLimInc.com/ Alex Lim

    I guess you shouldn't underestimate the power of word of mouth even though we're in the age of modern technology. It has proven its effectiveness even without the presence of twitter or facebook.
    However, since we are surrounded with various tools of fast and efficient communication might as well utilize them to build a community. Considering that some people are still looking for a tribe to belong with. Indeed, the very first step is to invite. I guess the second is to provide a beneficial environment for all which gives support, encouragement and learning for members.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Amen to that, Alex. The value that LGD provides isn't tactile, but it's there. You're absolutely right. Invite folks, then make sure they have something to not only come for, but come back for. Great comments.

  • http://www.ribeezie.com Ricardo Bueno

    I think that if you have a genuine interest in sharing and hearing what other people have to say…if you give people a forum by which to communicate, the rest comes easy. That's how communities are build: sharing, learning, collaboration.

    You never, ever dish out *your* agenda. That's a recipe for failure…

  • http://en-gb.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Anderson/660044514 Matthew Anderson

    Good point well made. I had a client ask what can we do to promote our new social media site?

    I said get every employee to tell their friends, co-workers and suppliers about it.

    They looked taken aback that I hadn't suggested Twitter or a Facebook page. But people forget that social media is exactly that. Its about being sociable and networking.

    Matt

  • Pingback: Internet Marketing, Strategy & Technology Links – August 18, 2009 | Sazbean

  • http://www.superiorpromos.com/ Promotional Products

    Great points, sometimes all it takes is an invitation. People are always looking for something to belong to. If you give them the proper motivation to join your community the results can be dramatic.

  • http://www.superiorpromos.com/ Promotional Products

    Great points, sometimes all it takes is an invitation. People are always looking for something to belong to. If you give them the proper motivation to join your community the results can be dramatic.

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