How to Set the Right Tone for Your Online Community

Many online community arguments are caused by misunderstandings, which in turn are usually caused by unfortunate wording or a misunderstood tone. When you read and put words together in your heads, you hear the words the way you talk unless you have an idea of the other person’s tone and inflection.

Someone who isn’t angry may be thought to be simply because of a few unfortunately placed words. Someone who doesn’t know any better, for example, may type in all caps because she’s new to online socializing and doesn’t realize that it’s perceived as yelling. It’s easy to mistake tone, not only in a single post but also in the general community.

To help set a positive tone for your community:

  • Enjoy the company. When you enjoy your members and have fun managing your community, it shows. The atmosphere is pleasant and congenial. If you’re funny and encourage humor in others, your community is happy and lively. Treat your community as you would your real-life friends and neighbors, and your infectious attitude will be inspiring to your members.

  • Welcome everyone. Everyone in your community is important. You know it, but you have to make sure that they know it. Let everyone know how happy you are they joined your community. Say “hello” and “welcome” to your newbies and encourage them to join in the festivities. Give them a reason to come back again.

  • Establish a regular presence. When your members know you’re monitoring a community and available for questions and comments, they’re more confident about participating every day. When they know you’re there, they’re comfortable contributing to the community because they know members are going to behave according to the rules. Plus, if your presence is funny and pleasant and you’re a joy to be around, your members look forward to interacting each day.

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