Community Building Tips: Are You Commoogling?

What is commoogling? A concept honed by Martin Shervington on Google+ and explained on Urban Dictionary as “Commingle – to mix together, to blend, to make into one ‘body’+ online activity i.e. Commingling Online = Commoogle.” It is community building or tribe building in your online life specifically on Google+.

When I first started on Twitter, I was lucky enough to find an online hashtag community called #UsGuys. No, it wasn’t all guys from the US, it was a thriving group of like-minded people who shared information, coffee and life through the #UsGuys hashtag on a daily basis. It was an amazing resource to throw a question out and get a few responses quickly from reliable sources. I made tons of friends here, 12 Most was born from people in this group, I found my business partner and I learned a lot from the great group of people. They are still tweeting on the tag today so hit them up if you want to meet some new people. A community built on a hashtag is tricky since all communities need guidelines to handle problems that arise. Leadership was a challenge and people kept thinking monetization which I believe turned out to be impossible. But we were all richer from the connections and friendships built here. I feel blessed by all the people that I have met and learned from online.

Taking things that we learned in the #UsGuys community, my partner, Paul Biedermann, and I have built a community of writers with 12 Most. This supportive, interesting and FUN group of people supports each other and shares much of their online lives with 12 Most. Writing for 12 Most is the foundation of the group but the generous, positive spirit of the community is what makes it special. Sure, everyone once in awhile there are people who cause ripples or self-promote but we handle these things and move on. Guy Kawasaki said “Create something worth building a community around.” And I feel we have done this with 12 Most.

Having a community to commoogle with is what makes social media work. Period.

Why is Google+ perfect for community building? This fantastic post from Martin “The psychology of engagement on Google+” talks about the role of team or community on Google+:

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“As well as finding your niche and being persistent, as +Jaana Nyström told me early on, very often people are collaborating on Google+ in formal or informal teams. It is worth considering at this point that an organisation is, in effect, a team. Most often, people align themselves more or less to the values and directions of the strategic plan and play a role in getting there. The same will be when people become ‘organised’ in less formal ways.

This shift from an individual acting alone to an informal arrangement of people working together is one of the powerful aspects on Google+; and it manifests in mutual sharing and trending topics i.e. where people come together and use the same hashtag as a way of communicating/binding within a theme. This can then take on a life of its own as it goes beyond the network initiators of a hashtag. These teams as +stephanie wanamaker, The Hashtag Queen, and +Robert Partridge attest to have tremendous resource to spread messages across Google+ with their own memes!

But anyone working together in any way is in effect a team, even if the don’t codify it in this way. An idea virus cannot be spread by one person alone.”

If you don’t have a community online, find one or create one. For me, I have found deeper conversations and great connections on Google+ that are a challenge on Twitter (which has been my favorite platform for a long time) given the 140 limitations. While I love the challenge of creating a great tweet, sometimes a little extra wiggle room is good. Facebook is turning into a repetitive cycle of the same material being shared and popping up again a week later and then another week later. G+ seems to have a more fresh current of what’s hot and interesting. The daily trending hashtags are a fantastic way to hop in easily, check out my piece on trendspotting for more details. From my friend Dane Findley (whom I met on Twitter in #UsGuys and is a 100% Google+ man now) a handy chart of Google+ tools:

Community Building Tips: Are You Commoogling? image tools 300x221

Google+ has its own language and culture but I feel if you dig in, it is worth the effort to find your community and engage. You can find people who like the things that you like with circles or hashtags and start engaging with them. Sure, I have met a few jerks on Google+ or those that think they own the place but 99.99% of the people are passionate, engaging friends waiting to comment back on your comment and reciprocate with a +1 and a share.

I love this term that I found on Martin’s post, shareshag! Which describes when someone runs through all your posts and shares them. Yes, please! Have you shareshagged someone today?

Elaine Lindsay says this about Google+, “In our communities, it is the structure, the culture and conventions in deep and well developed prose, that really capture the essence of why I love it here.”

In the words of Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” I am passionate about social media and community building, I feel that these two things combined are one of the keys to success in social media. What are you waiting for?

Resources:

Generation+ and teams by Martin Shervington

The Art of Creating a Community by Guy Kawasaki

Featured image courtesy of danielmviero.com via Creative Commons.

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