The other day I was chatting with friend and digital strategy/social media expert Ken Burbary on the phone. He was advising a colleague on some good community-building techniques to consider when all of the sudden the following words came out:
“You have to find your cheeseheads.”
What? I did a double-take (or at least the conference call equivalent) and asked him to repeat himself.
I had heard him correctly.
Ken lives in Michigan. Michigan is not far from Wisconsin. Wisconsin is where a lot of cheese is made. Wisconsin also has an (American) football team called the Green Bay Packers.
The biggest fans of the Green Bay Packers wear wedges of cheese made out of foam on their heads to show their support for the team. When someone will wear a big wedge of cheese on their head to show support for their team, that means they are a pretty big fan.
So Ken was saying that good community catalysts seek out and empower the biggest community supporters and advocates—the cheeseheads.
I found a fantastic blog post, written last fall by a colleague of Ken’s named Rachel Happe, entitled Cheeseheads. The post, which appears on The Community Roundtable website, explains in more detail the concept of how to engage your community’s cheeseheads. I won’t repeat Rachel’s advice here, but instead want to ask a follow-on question:
Sitting at a football game at Lambeau Field, it’s pretty easy to spot most of the biggest fans. They have foam cheese on their heads.
But what you do when a community isn’t the foam-hat-wearing kind? How do you find and empower the people who are the community’s energy source? Here are a few thoughts from me on how to find the biggest community advocates when they aren’t in plain view.
[Read the rest of this post on opensource.com]
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