Building Community: Response to Michael’s call for participation

I just read the new appeal for more participation and I’ve been putting a lot of thought into how we can bring about more participation.  Perhaps we’re going about it from the wrong direction?  In other words, maybe the reason participation online is so low, is because users don’t want to build online community, but instead want to get out and do something, even if that something is just meeting with other users to learn about how to use zspace.  So, here’s an idea.

We could make an appeal to the 700 participating members to help organize a meetup of sorts.  They could register as the point person for a certain location.  We could then encouarage z users to come out and participate on a certain date, learn how to use the new site features in a community setting.  It would also be a great way for Z users to meet and interact with each other.  I would be happy to be the contact person for Missouri. 

As partisan as moveon is, one thing they do very well is to move things from the online to the offline.  They have parties, events, and meetings that encourage people to get out and meet each other.  They know that they can’t all be serious all the time.  Yet, they do manage to accomplish things (even if I don’t think they are left enough).  I think that building this kind of offline community is an essential part of getting people to relax and participate.  Once people participate and start feeling comfortable around each other, we can get as serious as we need to.  Does than sound like an interesting idea to anyone else?


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