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Personal Acknowledgments

At the most basic level, a community is a place “where everybody knows your name.” It’s also a place where, for better or worse, people learn things about you—your personal history, special talents, social reputation, and peculiar quirks—and incorporate that knowledge into their interactions with you. The bartender at the local tavern might greet you by name on your second visit, but eventually she’ll be inquiring about your family, asking how the job’s going, or chuckling over your vacation photos; she’s built up a context that allows her to communicate with you in a more personalized way.

Welcome Your Members

Acquiring this sort of personal context is what “becoming known” is all about, and it’s part of what draws people back to a community setting. As a community builder, you can initiate the process by welcoming people as they arrive. As discussed in Chapter 4, it’s a good idea to greet new visitors right away and lead them to an informative Visitor’s Center. But your members will have a persistent and unique identity (see Chapter 3), which means that you can get to know them better over time and use this knowledge to welcome them in an increasingly more personalized way.


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