Importance of Building Community Around You
In this episode, I am on the road and talking about building community. Humans are social creatures. We are not meant to live in this world alone. Sometimes we do need to “have a little help from our friends.”
My questions to you are:
- Do you have some friends that have your back?
- Have you spent some time building community around you?
Unfortunately in modern Western Civilization, the answer is probably no. I have to admit: I need to work on this as well. We are going to make some changes to Small Scale Life to help you build community around you, where ever you are. More on that later!
The Power of Building Community
An example of needing folks and building community to help happened on Wednesday this week. Karma the Dog found a way to break out of our backyard, and it sent me into a panic. The dog decided to go for a walkabout, and it was like a spaceship flew over and teleported the dog into it. I drove, walked and rode my bike through the neighborhood, but I couldn’t find her. She was gone, and I was panicking.
The only way I found her was by putting a plea out on my neighborhood association Facebook group, and after two minutes, someone responded that they had found her. I hit the bricks armed with her collar and leash, and in minutes I was in front of the house where Karma was patiently waiting at the fence.
I knocked at the door and met a nice neighbor. She had taken Karma to the vet, and she thought Karma was a wonderful lady. I had Karma back home shortly thereafter.
It was another reminder that building community is important and that there are a lot of good people right around you. We need to engage with those people and make connections where ever you are.
I had started out this year with an idea in mind to meet more people are part of the Small Scale Life Community. I called this Operation Outreach, and I have not done a great job following through on that. Part of building community is setting aside the time to meet with folks, and then actually following through and meeting them! I have to admit: I have been on the run and haven’t done a fantastic job meeting listeners and fans of the show and blog.
It hasn’t been a complete disaster, of course. I had such a good time and got to meet Wyoming and Colorado folks at Doneil Freeman’s house near Colorado Springs. I really had a great time meeting Doneil and his family, Michael Jordan and his family, Chad and his wife, Rob and Adam. We had so much fun, and talking late into the night over a few fermented creations was truly a highlight.
There are four months left in 2018, and I need to get moving and meeting you! I am going to start working on this in August. I do travel to a lot of places in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and I hope that I will meet with you sometime in the near future.
Social Media Meltdown
If you have been a listener and follower of the blog and podcast, you know that Small Scale Life has never been and will never be about politics. I have had members thank me for being non-political. Small Scale Life is like an island, a safe harbor, amidst a sea swirling with tidal waves of anger and vitriol.
Occasionally things happen online and in the news that makes me think. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Google, YouTube, Facebook, MailChimp and LinkedIn banned Alex Jones. Several of those platforms banned the Ron Paul Institute and other Libertarian accounts. It really gets your noggin jogging.
Regardless of where you stand on political issues, things are happening in the country and online. Silicon Valley, activists and our fellow citizens are getting extremely sensitive and triggered by issues and topics.
You might be asking: who cares and what’s the big deal?
One of our subjects is homesteading, and while most would think that is a simple and straightforward subject, some people get very triggered by the livestock subject. While I have done very few shows on raising and butchering livestock, it is part of many homesteads.
At the same time, I am a turkey hunter and a fisherman. We also have a vibrant deer camp and deer season on Dom Waldgang (my land) every year. I have not posted any posts or recorded podcasts about these events, but they are part of my life and important in building community, which in this case is our family. These posts are coming (and I have pictures and stories already in the hopper from previous events).
How will people react? Could I be deplatformed for these kind of posts?
The answer is “OF COURSE!” I have seen threads in homesteading groups bog down with discussions about livestock, predators, hunting and fishing. Triggered people can create a lot of problems:
- Ban people
- Terminate Facebook groups
- Terminate accounts on social media platforms.
The only thing I own is my blog and podcast. I do not have an extensive e-mail list yet. I use use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube to promote the blog and podcast. These are owned by others, and while it is easy to turn the social media light switch on, it is also very easy to turn that light switch off. If you step on a landmine with something you or a guest says, it can be all over. It does not matter how big your following is.
Harold Thornbro at Smalltown Homestead realized this as well, and he created a forum for subscribers. Harold developed this forum to 1) build a community of like-minded homesteaders and 2) have a place that is free of trolls, spammers and sensitive people who could derail and deplatform him. Again, this is available to subscribers that go behind his paywall. I am a member to this site, and I highly recommend joining.
Small Scale Life Forum
I really am jealous of Captain Lumbersquatch Greg Burns and his merry band of Squatches in Ohio. The Ohio Get Stuff Done Crew is community for real, and they get together to work on projects, socialize and do other shenanigans. There is power in the deep friendships between these folks, and it really inspires me. That is why I created the MN-WI Regenerative Agriculture Facebook Group. I wanted to build a community like theirs here, and I have some work to do getting these fine folks together.
How can I help you build community?
I have been contemplating creating a forum on Small Scale Life for over a year. I have not pulled the trigger on it because I didn’t want to add to my workload or bog the site down. I know from experience that forums create really tight groups and are great for sharing content that is searchable. Forums are not like Facebook: posts are not lost to the black hole of the application.
With everything going on this week, I have decided to launch a Small Scale Life Forum. As I have said elsewhere: the perfect is enemy of the good. I spent a lot of time and energy this week trying to decide if I want to use the subdomain or set up a separate site for that forum. I can see the value of both, actually.
Moving forward, I am going to implement the forum and start building community away from the typical social media platforms. We will have ways to communicate that are not under the watchful eye of the hall monitors and Modor. I am quite serious about this: I have already set up a subdomain for the forum. I will be testing the forum prior to opening it to all of you.
At the same time, I am on the verge of launching a subscription site as well. Like Harold, I figure this will be one way to keep trolls, spammers and trouble-makers out and help pay for additional costs for the infrastructure.
Putting It All Together
I will have more for you when these things are available. If you want to be part of my forum test group, please e-mail me at realsmallscalelife at gmail dot com, and we will get working on that! I am pretty excited to set these things up!
I will be going to the Zac Brown Concert tonight with our small tribe: Julie, Danny, Savannah, Ryan and Abbey (or niece). More on that event in a separate blog post.
In the meantime, think about building community where ever you are. How can you meet folks and engage with them? Remember: when you learn and do, you will grow.
Start building community today; you might need some folks sooner than you think!