I was just thinking about what I want to do, not only with this site but also with my life in terms of work. Just thinking about this for a little bit, I kept coming back to communities. When I reflected on this some more, I realized what was drawing me to community building was creating the right kind of culture in these communities. And when I focused on that, a flood of memories came back to me.
You see when I was younger, I was highly introverted. While I did have a small handful of friends that I hung out with, I really didn’t interact with others in larger social situations or events that much. Part of this was because I was shy but the other part of it was I just didn’t like the way people treated each other. To some people, things like peer pressure are a normal part of school. To me, it just felt wrong and I decided I’d rather be independent doing my own things rather than tagging along like a dog being subservient to the whims of the social elitists of these groups.
When I grew up, those feelings stuck with me. And as I grew out of my shell, I become more and more vocal in striving to address these issues in any way I could. It’s also why I think I started delving into online communities as well. I was tired of seeing these negative environments around communities and wanted to help people by creating environments that were much more positive. And of course, as soon as I remembered that I realized something very important.
Remember my recent post where I said the words “Connect. Empower. Inspire.” felt right to me? Well I had said that I wasn’t quite sure what “empower” related to so I just assumed it meant technological software that was easy to use for people. Now I know what the word “empower” really means. Empower is about creating the right culture within the communities that I want to help build. In doing so, these positively cultured communities help to empower people, allowing them to do things they’ve never been able to do before, and thus more importantly inspire them to do things that they’ve only dreamed of. What’s that? Inspire them to follow their passions.
Therefore that’s what these trinity of words really mean to me.
- Connect = Help connect people by building communities and environments for them to interact within.
- Empower = Help to create positive empowering environments within these communities by defining the right culture within them from the very start.
- Inspire = And finally by creating a positively empowered community environment, it allows the people within it to be inspired to focus on their passions.
So all three are interdependent upon one another but I think the most important aspect of this is really creating the right culture which empowers the people immersed within it to be the best that they can be, instead of being a negative culture that weighs upon them, forcing them to only be what they are told to be (i.e. “This is your cubicle. Don’t leave it.”).
Finally what’s really interesting about this is that this culture isn’t just an online thing. Actually if anything, the type of culture that a company is offline in their work environment will directly influence the culture created around their products online. In effect, they are interconnected and interdependent upon one another.