The Ebb And Flow Of Community

by Jason Falls |
Ebb. Flow. Pebble.
Image by Andrionni Ribo :-) via Flickr

In May of 2008 I started a little experiment called Twit2Fit. The premise was noble and simple. Use the “#twit2fit” hashtag when posting Twitter updates about health and wellness and those seeing the hashtag would give you the appropriate encouragement, support, kudos or motivation. The hashtag caught on and soon after, there were 70-80 tweets per day using it.

In July of 2008 after suggestions from several folks, I launched Twit2Fit.com, a Ning community where those interested could share more than just the 140 character limited notes. Soon, people began to blog, post ideas in the forums, upload pictures and connect with others hoping to improve themselves in some way. (We consider fitness and wellness to be physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. It’s not just an exercise community.)

And a community began to grow.

I get an email or a note on Twit2Fit about once a week or so from someone telling me how much of a difference Twit2Fit has made in their ability to lose weight, go to the gym, etc. It’s great to hear that. One member has lost over 30 pounds and credits the attention and support from the community on Twitter for her persistence. Geoff Livingston, a friend and social media guru, adds #twit2fit to his tweets and has dropped a bunch of weight and gotten back in “playing shape” as it were.

But for some, namely me, the community hasn’t helped as much. I don’t blame the community. I blame myself. But the relevant point here is not about my weakness for Reese’s Cup Blizzards.

The point is communities have ebbs and flows. People in those communities do as well. The guy or gal that’s gung-ho about your product or service in September may disappear for a while in January. One of your best community resources may only swing by your store or online message board once or twice a week. Or month.

Remember that no matter how much we want our customers and fans to love us, they aren’t going to follow us around like puppies. People have lives, jobs, stresses, other products they love, different communities and social networks to tend to and such. Just because they aren’t wearing your badge quite the way you want them to doesn’t make them less important.

If they’re the kind of customer, fan or friend you want, they’ll come back around. I know I have.

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About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls 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 Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).