I signed up for Problogger’s 31 Days to a Better Blog Challenge, and I’m going to take you along for the ride. However, we’ll be taking the scenic route since I’m starting this challenge a bit late. Day 1 assignment — create an elevator pitch for my blog. Here’s my first shot.

My blog explores how we build and nurture our member and customer communities.

Yes, it was a short elevator ride. I’ll continue to work on this as I get a better grasp on what I’m doing here. This topic has always been part of my professional life, and with the social media tools we have now, there’s a lot still to explore. However, I struggled with whether my blog would only deal with professional topics, or whether I’d include personal ones too. After all, what does this post have to do with community building? I decided I don’t want to keep my personal interests out of the mix, another example perhaps of the crumbling wall between our professional and personal lives, or at least mine.

(photo by blmurch/Flickr)

(photo by blmurch/Flickr)

We’re becoming a lot more transparent, a lot less private. We put ourselves out there for all to see. When I decided to get into Twitter, I knew my tweets could be seen by anyone. That awareness is always in the back of my mind. I’m not being inauthentic when I tweet, just a bit careful. I use language my mother would approve of, and I check my spelling and grammar as much as 140 characters allow.

However, sometimes I tweet about things that may not seem so professional, for example, craft beer. I’ve been a craft beer lover since the 80’s. It’s an industry for which I have immense respect and passion. There’s a community of craft beer lovers spread out across the country. We’re a minority, but a passionate and growing minority. I’ll be writing more about this industry and how it builds community or leverages the existing community. My craft beer passion is part of who I am, and so part of the complete Deirdre package.

The first time I accepted a Facebook friend request from a member, I knew that she would see a more complete version of me. But I also knew that it would be the same Deirdre she saw at association meetings, just filled out a bit more. Writing this blog is yet another step into the public eye. I’m taking a risk perhaps. I’ll soon be looking for a job in Raleigh. Will my blog work in my favor or be a detriment? I don’t know, but it does give a more complete picture of who I am. If I’m the right fit for you and vice versa, then that’s a plus. If not, it’s better we both find that out earlier rather than later.

These are the thoughts that I wrestle with each time I step further out into the online world. We encourage associations and companies to follow us into this naked world and we’re often frustrated when “they don’t get it.” Heck, it can be scary out here, but it’s a risk worth taking because it’s about building and strengthening relationships, and about building community. That’s what keeps me attached to Twitter, Facebook and this blog.

Day 2 challenge — write a list post, stay tuned. In the meantime, I’ll keep working on that elevator pitch.