As you know from last week’s post, I’m elbow-deep in creating our membership site. I want to include really helpful videos, a library of patterns I know and trust, and lots more resources I want to share with you. All of that help and information will be great, but central core – the heart of the site, will be the private forum.
I’ve been researching tools to create this site, paying particular attention to the look and feel of the forum. It’s been an eye-opening experience. People ask about and expound on the best plug in and its costs (which are high), the integration with existing sites and email (which is complicated), and, recurring payments (also important). The focus is on, and all the nitty gritty technical stuff that goes into a thing like this.
Reading through the questions and the answers, I am seeing a simple truth: As with so many things, you cannot throw money and technology at a problem and expect to come up with a solution.
The problem so many of these askers face is that they have no community. They want to buy software and mailing lists and click funnels and all these things, but that is not what builds a community. It might build a community site, but it does not build a community.
You can throw people in room or a forum and call it a community, but it is not a community, and it will not thrive. Thriving communities evolve slowly, over time though regular exposure casual conversations, and relationships formed from mutual interests and shared experiences.
Thriving communities help us find connections, facilitate transformation, and help us better understand ourselves and our identity.
This is what I have seen at the shop for the past 18 years. I see strangers become friends by sitting together at a class. I see rookies learn to knit and beginning knitters make their first sweater. I see each of us finding a new sense of self A Knitter, and everything that goes with that moniker. Our strange shared language of SSKs and WIPs and tinks. . Our experiences struggling and helping each other through the same project, and the true meaning of someone being knitworthy.
The goal with this membership site is to bring that community to life in a virtual space. To take it from just “in the shop and around the table” to an online platform that welcomes not only those who are home during these times, but those wonderful knitters who are part of our community but live far away. Knitters like Jana, who spent many an afternoon around the table but now lives in San Diego. Knitters like Gwen, who lives in Kansas, and found us on a random search for yarn stores. And Colleen in Blacksburg, Virginia. All of these lovely knitters just finished our V-Neck sweater knitalong with at least 10 other knitters from far and wide. Knitters like Pat, in Tennessee, Ida in Virginia, and Anne in Florida, who all joined Dee, right here in St. Mary’s for our Cocoknits class. They chatted, they commiserated, and they are moving forward. My goal here is to offer the Crazy for Ewe community the chance to continue the conversation. To connect. To learn and grow. To belong.
Will the membership site have other stuff? Of course, just as the shop has other stuff. We come for the yarn, but we stay for the community.
I hope you will join me. At the shop, around the table, or in the membership site, you are always welcome here.