Often when there are new, cool ways of doing things we ask ourselves what the older systems and practices can learn from the new ones. In the case of online communities we talk a lot about how older, offline communities can benefit from being online, or more like us.
But let’s look at what we can learn from offline communities to make our online communities even better.
As an example we will look at two (completely different) strong, offline communities that make a big impact on individuals and connect people across the world; Rotary and Crossfit.
Rotary, as our first example, is a business and community service network with 1.4 million members worldwide. They meet once a week to exchange knowledge and ideas as well as doing loads of service projects in their community. Rotary is an old network, founded in 1905, but is still going strong even though they struggle locally with age structure and attracting new members. Rotary, as an old network with a strict structure, struggles with their online presence and taking the offline community to the web.
Crossfit on the other hand is a new community. Crossfit as a sport gained followers as late as 2000 and has grown rapidly since. The sport is mostly individual but is building a brand around the “box community” - the people in the gym (box) all supporting and pushing each other so that each person can reach his or her individual goals. Crossfit, as a newer community, is extremely active online and especially in social media.
Idea Hunt is a community in the making and is completely digital, existing only online at the moment. So what can new, online communities like Idea Hunt, learn from the ones that are based offline?
From Rotary, the most important thing to copy is the focus on a foundation of standards, ethics and accepted guidelines. For a community of over 1.4 million people to work it is important that you have some common ground. Everyone will not, and should not, have to have the same opinion, background and reference points. For them to work well together they need a platform and similar basic ethics that guides the community.
The best take away from Crossfit should be the benefit for the individual through the community. To build a community where the individual feels needed, seen and may experience a sense of gain by giving more to the group is important to make people come back for more.
At Idea Hunt we have our values, such as trust and working with the community as well as our common belief that ideas, not money, makes the world go round, to guide us. We also strive to acknowledge and engage our hunters, founding members, and all of you sharing your ideas to make the world a more generous, fun and exciting place to be!