The Community Club

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Simon Tomes
Simon Tomes

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What do you think of this model? The Community Emotion Path

What do you think of this model?

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I created the Community Emotion Path in response to Jono Bacon's Community Belonging Path. I write about my experience as a community member in relation to the Community Belonging Path on this blog post and also introduce the idea of this new model.

The Community Emotion Path captures how a community member might feel at any stage of their community journey. A member might join the path at any point and equally might fall off or actively choose to step off the path. When off the path they feel lost or choose to look in on their community. A good community helps a member get back on the path on their own terms. The community respects the emotions of their fellow member – and helps them avoid getting caught up in one particular emotion, although this is easier said than done.

A community manager can lead-by-example and demonstrate – alongside active community members, ambassadors and moderators – that its ok to flow through a multitude of emotions like those on the Community Emotion Path. The ambition is to provide an inclusive way for members to actively step on or off the path – with no remorse – using a cadence that works for their individual context.

Once a member feels safe in the knowledge that they can't always be their best – and don't have to be their best – it creates a sense of freedom that may eventually lead to a more active community member.

Like any model, a model is fallible. Yet a model is useful for reflection, to start conversations and to simplify something complex. Perhaps it helps in some way and I'm keen to learn if it does.

Discussion (2)

albertcnichols profile image
Albert Nichols

Hey Simon -- super interesting. How did you come up with this and what informed it?

My first question is, should it be a loop? Or is this a journey?

simon_tomes profile image
Simon Tomes Author • Edited

Hi Albert,

Thanks for checking it out and for your questions.

My own experience as part of different communities mostly informed the model. Plus I’ve been on a journey with mindfulness over the last four years or so and no doubt that’s had an influence. I’ve also observed how some folks dip in and out of communities – and I had a desire to acknowledge that it’s totally ok for that to happen given we’re all on our own journeys. I think part of our human condition is that we often try to be our best all the time yet we don’t actually need to be. The diagram with description of the model attempts to describe this.

For example, imagine a member is about to contribute to a blog post for their community. They might rapidly go through all those emotions on the Community Emotion Path and happily publish that post. Or perhaps they get to one of the more difficult emotions and go “that’s enough now, I need to step off!” When someone chooses to contribute to a community there are a tonne of emotions at play and it’s super complex. This model attempts to acknowledge that and simplify things.

For the diagrammatic loop visualisation I had in mind an infinity loop instead of a regular circular loop, to make it more “journey like”. Perhaps a three dimensional loop would make it look more “path like”. Kinda like this. What do you think?

Thanks again for your questions, I appreciate it.
– Simon