Once upon a time, I was in a corn field when I heard a voice, as if from nowhere. And the voice said unto me, ‘If you build it, they will come!’ Okay, so it wasn’t exactly me, it was Kevin Costner, and I wasn’t in a corn field, it was more like a video rental store. And the voice didn’t really come from nowhere, it came from the monitors in the store where they were playing Field Of Dreams, but still go with me on the idea for another moment, because I want to talk about this concept. ‘If you build it, they will come!’ You see there is a subtle brilliance underlying this statement, that most people are apt to turn away from. There is an idea of pioneering, and striking out. Daring to tread where others have not without promise of anyone following along with you. Ay, there’s the rub…
You see, many trails are never blazed for fear of failure. If there aren’t others doing what you intend to do, many will be leery of supporting you in this bold new direction, because it lacks the safety net of the following flock. So getting started can often be a difficult task, especially when you seek to build a community, where you lack the masses you will need to keep it going. Today, however, we are here to talk about those sites who have struck out to build community and strengthen the community they are in. They did build it, and we arrived as promised! These sites are the ones who have laid their foundations with solid stock, and are building empires upon them.
Community has always been important to Angie and I, so naturally we felt a fit with the Fuel Brand Network who is building a community of sites that feed the creative pursuits that envelope us all. In that tradition, we felt it would be amiss without a tip of our hats to those sites we felt were doing great things for the community, and building a sense of partnership and involvement with the online creative collective that we all proudly claim to be apart of. Here are a few of our favorites
Since they began Smashing Magazine in 2006, Sven and Vitaly have honored a commitment to bringing high quality content to the design world, not only in the form of fantastic articles and helpful how-to’s, but also by building a community around this idea. Through the inclusion of job postings and even a forum to allow for user interaction and sharing, Smashing’s team has earned their place on our list.
The Envato Network
How could we talk about building community, without talking about the Envato Network of sites. These fantastic sites are dedicated to informative and top shelf tutorials to teach the design collective helpful hints, techniques, and shortcuts. They know that the best way to build community is to keep the people in it growing and evolving in their fields. The Envato group has certainly taken on that mission of strengthening us at our core, and for that, we thank them.
The Behance Network has risen to the challenge of providing a well structured online networking site for designers to come share and showcase their works. With a professional sleek look and a designer focused format, this awesome online gathering and growing gallery has finely filled that niche need that Deviant Art’s camera-phone tweeny-clique laden lunchroom couldn’t quite reach. Behance has provided this service so brilliantly to the design community, that they easily made their way onto the list.
Growing from a conversation between some of the online design communities most inspiring and initiative driven residents, DCTH, or Design Community’s Twitter Hours for those who aren’t into the whole brevity thing, came about to be a weekly virtual helpdesk for the design community at large to participate in and contribute to. If you want to talk about building community, this is how you get it done! Realizing the need for this sort of multi-level, international involvement to help grow and solidify the foundation of the creative collective, and then acting quickly to satisfy it, earns DCTH a place in our spotlight! Participate by following @DCTH on twitter.
Chat Creative came to be with a single mission in a simple mind…wait, I said that wrong…it was a simple mission in a single mind, ‘to help connect the creative community one chat at a time’. And Kyle has certainly done that! By gathering some of the online design communities most respected and favored friends together for a live chat panel discussion, open to the general public, he gave us a focused voice that would be able to rise above the social media drown-out and be able to be heard. Having just had its inaugural run, we expect to see big things from Chat Creative… like will Graham be able to solve his Rubik’s Cube? Find out next month, same Chat-time, same Chat-channel!
What are your favorites?
That does it for our side of the discussion, now it is your turn. Which sites do you feel are building community, and why? Let us know in the comments below which would make your list.
Rob is the talented author and graphic designer, celebrated podcaster and poet, who is now the co-editor and imaginative co-contributor of Fuel Your Creativity. With a background working through most areas of the arts, Rob works from a creative wellspring that shows no signs of running dry.