I launched therodinhoods.com in Nov 2010 via this simple facebook announcement:
Immediately after the launch, I began to write discussions ever so often and invited readers to comment and share their own stories.
It was a slow but steady start.
Most of the content on therodinhoods.com was my stuff. I rarely received content from other people.
All along the journey, I had a dream:
That one day, I would log into therodinhoods.com and see the site filled with content that belonged to everyone else except that of my own!
That dream would give me the ultimate satisfaction of having created a truly social ‘community’ that lived by its members, for its members and of its members.
Well, this afternoon, when I logged on, this is what I saw:
The discussion section had just 1 article written by me:
The blog section had no blog written by me!
Today, my dream has come true!
I could not have imagined this!
Having seen this amazing day, let me share the 5 most important lessons learnt in curating and building a social community:
1. Be focussed on what you know best (it doesn’t matter if the subject is esoteric like entrepreneurism or business)
The right people will come and flock your site and make the community extremely rich with their presence and experience!
2. Write as often as you can, but only on what you know.
I write only on subjects that I know and I can contribute to. I don’t touch anything else. This is what makes people come back and also helps others to write on their topic of expertise.
3. Be open in admitting mistakes, faux pas, blunders.
I have made some atrocious mistakes on this site. I wrote positively about Carol Bartz initially and then did a volte-face. I wrote a sick article about Hyderabad and got screwed. I wrote some nonsensical BS about Gandhiji that really earned me insults.
I admitted all these mistakes and even pulled down some of the posts. But in doing so, I earned the respect of the community!
4. Encourage meets, greets and some personal interaction.
People love to physically meet and greet the folks they have e-mailed and interacted with and have been following or fighting with!
5. Be honest about the intent.
I do not want to make money from this site. I do not want to sell my company or do sick PR. I even forbid my editor – Asha from allowing any 2win content to be featured.
I host this site as Good Karma to ‘give back’ what I have learnt as an entrepreneur and also to come across great entrepreneurs and companies that I can become part of, as their investor and guide.
Thank you for being a part of this wonderful dream and hope you create a social network of your own!
UPDATE: This reply below BLEW MY MIND!!