How to build an Web3 community people give a shit about
What does it mean to be a community member? Ask ten people that question, and you’ll likely receive ten different answers. This isn’t simply because they all have unique views on community membership — their beliefs about the world give them those ideas.
Community membership is difficult to define because it can mean different things in different contexts. In some cases, being a community member means having an interest in the topic at hand. For example, someone might say they’re a member of the NFT community because they’re passionate about the underlying technology.
In other cases, community membership might require more involvement. For example, you’re not considered a BAYC member unless you hold a BAYC NFT. There are also cases where community membership is much more exclusive. The 1% who hold the vast majority of wealth could be considered a community with its own rules and norms.
When you prescriptively define what must be done and what requirements must be met to join a community, you are creating two potentially dangerous outcomes:
- Your requirements become aspirational, driving interest and demand for your community. This is often the goal for Web3 companies, but with this comes a heightened level of expectation once members jump every hurdle and join. Your requirements become a barrier to entry, preventing people from joining your community. This can limit your community’s growth and make it difficult to achieve critical mass.
- Your requirements become a turn-off for community members who don’t want to or cannot meet them. This can make people feel like they’re not good enough or don’t belong, making them less likely to participate.
The Solution: Define Community Membership Based on Beliefs
Rather than focusing on what people must do to be community members, focus on what they believe. Doing so will help you identify and attract like-minded people who will live and breathe your shared values and ideas.
Beliefs Create Expectations. This Is Good And Bad.
Once you have a clear definition of community membership, you can start thinking about how to build that in real life. The first step is to consider your expectations as a group member. These are the things that you expect other members of the group to do for you and the things that you’re committed to doing for them.
But expectations can be challenging to talk about directly, so here are some common expectations that you might have as a group member:
- The group should provide you with a sense of belonging. You should feel like you’re part of a meaningful community with people who care about you.
- The group should challenge you to grow and improve. You should have people who will push you to do and be better than you are now.
- The group should help you get what you want out of life. You should have people focused on helping you achieve your goals and dreams.
For many people, the most important expectation is that you feel part of the group because you do not want to feel alone. You want to be part of the community because you genuinely want to connect to and forge ties with the other members.
To build a more connected community, you must ensure that people feel welcome and wanted. An excellent way to do this is to think about the types of people that you’d like to have in the group. What are their interests and goals? What are their personality traits? What do they have in common with you? How can you reach out to these people to let them know about the group?
You can’t expect to build a robust and connected community unless you know what community membership means to you and your group members. By clarifying your ideas about community membership, you can make it easier to bring people together and help them connect. With the right approach, you can turn the vague concept of community membership in your head into an active group that people can join and benefit from.
Joan is a Web3 / NFT writer, angel investor, communicator, and creative director. She is the founder of the web3 marketing, PR, branding, and creative firm Studio Self, where she helps blockchain companies, founders and creatives communicate with humans. She is raising Metapunk Ventures, a Web3 venture studio, and building MODA DAO and Emanate.