If you are reading this blog, you are someone who is interested in learning about International Education and who happens to be reading online. If you continue to read about our developments, make contributions and share, you will be part of a brand new online community taking off right here in Vietnam.
There’s a chance that some of you live in the same city or you may live in different cities on opposite sides of the world? That simply doesn’t matter online - instead of meeting at a coffee shop, you meet at a website. Instead of chatting face-to-face, you post messages to one another or join blog discussions. Even if it were possible for you to meet up - you may be too busy. That’s not a problem with a community like ours, just think about the possibilities!
We invite you to join our network of friends, who we call ‘a Global Community of Learners.’ We encourage you to come together, to share benefits in the many ways you otherwise would, it's just that now you will access these benefits via the internet.
Why should you care?
You ought to care because you will be part of something special and learn from other members while expanding your network of friends and associates.
Why does it make sense?
It makes sense because you will put your ideas out there, grow a voice and create an impact. You will also benefit the whole community by working together, comparing notes and using other members as a resource.
Why does this matter?
We believe it absolutely matters because it involves stakeholders and parents tapping into hidden trends and unmet needs. It also means caring where education is going as opposed to where it is today. It means craving the voice of passionate advocates - and rejecting all whiners.
What we believe
We believe that Expatriates and parents would like to share their interest and fascination for education. We believe that these groups are under-served in the area of opportunities for them to come together for meaningful discourse. We also believe that the combined resource of experience within these groups holds enormous potential, and that valuable consumer knowledge can re-enter the market and benefit us all. With better information, we make better decisions!
People don’t relate to ideas, they relate to people. It takes a village to share, to continually remind each other, and if necessary to have tough conversations. Honesty builds trust, which in turn builds relationships and breeds loyalty. A true community will focus on helping members, and actively nourishing a happy, active and productive atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.
The community we want to build
We want to discover and understand your needs and motivations, and to define the important topics that will drive conversation and add value for our members. Visitors know an empty community when they see one, and they won’t waste their time with a community that can’t offer them information or networking opportunities. The best parts of a community emerge from the complex, dynamic interplay among its members.
We offer a dedicated platform with a better user experience, two-way conversations that lead from the bottom up. We want to bring together amazing people - entrepreneurs, innovators, forward-thinkers, etc. Our aim is to connect with relevant people, ask questions and listen. Are we social? Sure, some people will just watch or read, but many will also participate and share with their friends.
Why we want to build it
We want to build our community for all the reasons given above, and because it doesn’t already exist. We can’t do it alone. You can’t do it alone. As a community, a potentially large group of passionate individuals, we can do it together. When we have grown a bit we will invite you to return to look around our community and be inspired!
Where do we start?
We will start small and focus on one specific goal - to see if the community exist and if this is what they want. We will go from there, if it’s “Yes” we will expand the community and people just like you will swarm because you have validated it as purposeful and compelling, and demonstrated that the timing is right.
Our purpose is community participation. Being an independent community means that anyone, whatever their level or role can participate anytime without relying on anyone else. If we actively participate as members and add meaningful content, we become the driving force behind a successful collaborative community. We will emerge as a self-directing group and as a result we will have more interaction, more ideas, and greater productivity.
Within a community of like-minded people the wisdom of crowds is considerably greater than any one person working alone. Our divergent world views mean that we all approach the exact same topic or problem slightly differently. No one person ever has all of the answers, consulting with others (with experts) is always going to give you better information and build spaces for interaction.
Support and motivation
Allowing others to help is often hard, but it ultimately raises everyone’s game. By surrounding yourself with others working toward a similar goal or objective, you’ll get motivation, support, and friendly competition to push yourself just a bit further than you would have done on your own. On those days when doing what needs to get done can seem overwhelming, you may need to borrow motivation from others - and like anything borrowed you will eventually give it back.
How we will manage the community
Firstly, to prevent anonymity our members are required to sign up and register and be logged in before participating in any conversation. This is important because anonymous posts stifle trust among members and can open the door to trolls (people who post inflammatory messages to provoke an emotional response) and flaming (posting of hostile messages).
Secondly, for security and reputation management it is going to be necessary to manage member engagement by moderation. As our community grows, we need to look beyond just the number of new users. Engaging current members is key to sustainability and creating value, and that is really what we all want. The most successful communities have a clear personality and culture and we will have to work to create this.
Although each community is different, all communities share some basic principles that can guide them through the building process. A strong vision, clear goals, and a set of community guidelines are key components to building a strong and lasting community. Guidelines are crucial in encouraging the right type of content and behaviour - by accepting guidance we will achieve more positive outcomes for all parties involved.
Every community needs to set the appropriate expectations so that community members know what type of behaviour will, or will not be tolerated. We will enforce our community guidelines with consistent and fair moderation practices. This is very important as a means to keeping our discourse wholesome, positive and uplifting. We expect all contributors and participating members to lead by example, by maintaining a positive presence in the community and by being actively vigilant for spoilers.
How we will sustain the community
At the end of the day, building a strong customer community takes time, patience, and a little bit of technical know-how. Uploading your company logo and seeding a few discussion questions is easy, but you have to think outside of the box a bit when considering the best ways to increase member engagement - how can your content innovate, support, pitch, teach, inform, defend? Remember, the content that gets shared the most online is good content. It gets spread on Facebook, Twitter, etc. The more good content you create and share, the more leverage you will have when reaching out to someone.
For our part, we will continue to acknowledge the desire of our members to be heard, to express their opinions and concerns and to find useful content. If our community succeeds, growth will be inevitable. And guess what? Good things will happen.
What are your thoughts about this type of community?
Remember you now have a voice!