Rome, one of the greatest cities and empires in history, wasn’t built in day.
It took years of hard work, planning, and lives lost to build the city and expand the Empire.
Great things, such as building a city or an Empire, take time. They take time to develop, to test, and to perfect. They require patience and hard work.
Building an online community, if we want it to be great, is going to take time too. It’s going to require patience. It’ll require observing what works and what doesn’t work. It’s going to be a lot of research and learning.
When I began the We Dream project, my first step was to create a plan. I thought of the various steps that would be required to build an online community. I laid it out step by step and then met with co-workers to get their opinions and ideas.
But even with a plan, I still felt a little lost. So I did a lot of research. I looked at other online communities and saw how their home pages were laid out and designed. I researched their terms and conditions, community guidelines, and how the community was managed.
Once I felt like I had a good grasp on how online communities truly operated, I started developing the We Dream community guidelines and a rough layout of the site. But, I quickly realized there’s only so much “community building” that can be done in a Word document.
I needed to get my hands dirty and see how things truly worked. I also needed to figure out what we could do and what we couldn’t do.
We had to make a decision on what program we would use to build our community. We had two ideas in mind, but decided to go with Ning.
Once we decided on what program to use, it was time to dive in. I spent some time reading the set up guides and made notes on what the We Dream site could use.
We’re currently building the foundation and framework for the site. One thing I learned from research is that an online community needs to be organic and user-built. As a result, we don’t plan to put too much structure into the site.
Once we get the framework complete, we plan to do a beta test with employees and certain members. This way we can see what is working, what isn’t working, what needs to be added, and make sure the site is meeting the needs of the users.
We may not be building a Roman Empire, but this community, if we want it to be great, is going to require time, effort, patience and hard work.