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Rayan Nait Mazi
Rayan Nait Mazi

Posted on

Thoughts on kickstarting communities

Hey everyone, Forem's been making it a lot easier to build a community but there's still a lot of non-foremy things that we all need to focus on.
Among these I'd include the strategy, mindset and daily efforts to grow our communities and make them positive places.

I've got a lot to learn on community building so I've been listening to various podcasts from those who've done it. I'd like to share this one, it's an interview of @ben (founder of Forem and DEV) by the founder of IndieHackers, another successful community.

#069 – How to Use Patience and Empathy to Reach Millions with Ben Halpern of - Development Hackers

When Ben Halpern (@bendhalpern) decided to start another business, he set a very unusual expectation: He gave himself 10 years t...


It's interesting because that discussion also explains a lot about why the forem software was built this way. Those of us who are self-hosting may not understand why things are the way they are, but they all make sense with how DEV grew its community.

I also appreciate how Ben talks about patience and providing value to the community by himself for a long time. He was "broadcasting" his thoughts on the subject of his community until he had a large enough following to make it a two-way thing, switching from Twitter to "Forem".

For those of us who are directly starting with a Forem instance, it can feel like we should have a community from the start, but we don't. I think it's ok if there's not instantly a lot of discussion on our communities and it's probably ok if it's mostly us talking for a while. We need to focus on providing value and bringing people in.

I'm a bit of a history nerd so I'll share with you the motto of Augustus, the first Roman Emperor. He'd say Festina Lente for just about any situation, which means "make haste slowly". I'm thinking there's probably a bit of wisdom in there for us community builders ;)

So don't forget to use Twitter to broadcast your community our there, and don't hesitate to ask interesting people to crosspost to your forem (it's even a built-in feature).

I'm looking forward to seeing your thoughts on kickstarting communities. Don't hesitate to share if you've got ressources on the subject. I'm also available if anyone wants to have a call about it of course.


Top comments (3)

ellativity profile image
Ella (she/her/elle)

Thanks for sharing these tips, @rayan! (And to @lee and @ildi for y'all's insights as always!)

I've created a Creator Question Time post here asking for the types of resources and info y'all would like to see more of here on - even if that's just signposts to other places on the internet where information lives. Please let me know how I can help you to bring in members, engage, and grow your communities. I'd love to share with y'all what I've learned!

lee profile image

Heya Rayan,

That's such a good episode - I too listened when I started TMMAL. Agreed this is such a valuable topic as it's so easy to give up when you're 3 months in with no engagement.

Here are some things I remind myself of daily:

  • If my Forem exploded today, I wouldn't be able to handle the moderation due to lack of experience and time so I am glad it takes time.
  • I am enjoying the journey of connecting with people that I never thought I would connect with through my communities (pro MMA athletes for example).
  • I focus on sharing content and reaching further engagement on only one extra social network (Twitter).
  • Forem is just getting going with the overall ecosystem. Cross discovery of communities within the ecosystem as it grows is really key to all of this, the more creators that get involved, the better.
  • Newsletter engagement is important and I need to ensure that I get a good routine going with this.
  • At some stage I need to become more community event driven (when I get the time)
  • I am playing the long game, I want to learn and adapt as I go and I can only do this if I grow slowly, steadily and with integrity
  • Love doing the art work and branding, something I didn't realise I'd enjoy so much :)
ildi profile image

For me, community building is so much about finding your tribe, slowly adding new members to the club, folks who share that same passion and enthusiasm.

It’s really important to also clearly provide details about what benefits a user gets for joining your community. The internet already provides options for many types of communities, what’s going to be the main differentiating reason why someone will want to join yours?

I also think as a community manager, you will learn and adjust a lot as you spend time building out the community. From my experience building websites and working on different methods to grow traffic, the best way to learn is by doing, talking to people, and having fun along the way.