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What do you consider wellness to be? And should wellness be applied to both physical and digital communities? When thinking about the term wellness in communities, we determined that it could be summed up like this: establishing and maintaining your desired culture.
To build a good culture — the kind that makes people happy to be part of a community — takes some ingenuity, the right attitude, and a lot of work. It’s a continuous process to ensure the wellness of your community, and with that in mind, we’re here to help in sharing some thoughts on how to encourage wellness.
Establishing Wellness in Online Communities
Building a community culture isn’t very difficult. You can usually stand back and a culture will appear. It just won’t necessarily mean a healthy culture.
A tip to help you better envision what type of online community you’d like to create is simply to think of what qualities you value in your day-to-day “real life” communities or organizations. We brainstormed some concepts that we felt were important across both physical and online communities.
When establishing wellness it is important to consider:
- What should be done to create an environment where members feel they belong
- How you will promote positive behaviors and discourage negative behaviors
- How trust will be built between the community managers and community members
- How new members should be welcomed and how you can help them get started in the community
How to Maintain Wellness
This may be a little trickier, as we are all human. We all slip up, and particularly with digital communication, messages can come across the wrong way regardless of the intention. These days especially, focusing on keeping communities well is more important than ever. Here are some of our thoughts on maintaining wellness in communities:
Having the right team with the right attitude
Your admin and moderation team is at the core of what makes your community run smoothly and their voices are equally important. When building your team, make sure to find someone who is engaged in your community actively, and who acts in a way that you think best promotes your communities goals and values.
If you don’t share the culture you want to create, no one will know. The expectations and resulting actions for both the admins/moderators and the members should be clearly communicated and enforced. Talk frequently and engage in your community discourse. Ignoring the community could result in users feeling forgotten or unappreciated.
Here’s the thing, everyone wants to feel recognized. When people are noticed, they feel good. They are more likely to be happy being part of a community, and more apt to share that positivity with others.
To go along with that, something we recommend that seems to bring all-around positivity to online communities is gamification. Gamification is a system of rewards that helps to encourage positive behaviors within your online community. Adding custom gamification to your community can strongly enforce positive behaviors and discourage negative ones while also recognizing members with achievements.
What Are You Doing?
Do you have any ideas you’d like to share with us? Let us know how you’re advocating for wellness in your communities. We’d love to share your thoughts and help spread wellness.