I’ve been studying the Tao Te Ching lately. Here are some tips I’ve extracted that can be applied to any online community.
1. Spend time in your community. Delight in their doings. The only way you will truly learn how to lead a community is to spend time in, and with your members. Learn what they are looking for, how they operate, what peaks their interest, and what inspires them.
2. Don’t force. In most communities, participation is 100% voluntarily. Forcing a member to do something is a wonderful to lose them – – completely.
3. Act without expectation. Succeed without taking credit. As a community manager, your job is to inspire and facilitate, not to assert your own successes.
4. Take from what is too much and give to what isn’t enough. Some members, the 1% or so of your community that post, comment, and participate prolifically have many ideas that can inspire other members. Spread these ideas around to your members who participate less and see if you can spark something in them.
5. Place yourself below the people. You must learn how to follow them. All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. This is great analogy. The best community managers are humble and don’t dictate from above.