Welo – Connect, Collaborate and Create wherever you are. Welo – Connect, Collaborate and Create wherever you are. Go beyond online meetings

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According to David Spinks — an expert on community building, cofounder of CMX, where over 20,000 community professionals gather to learn and support each other, and host of CMX summit, the largest conference in the community industry — a crucial aspect of the framework for building community belonging is place. Specifically, it is essential to gather in a compelling place. Spinks emphasizes that, “Where they [community members] gather is a critical part of their experience.”

Communities of Yesteryear

Thriving communities have historically relied on gathering in compelling places. Whether it was a local club, service organization, special interest group, or even informal gatherings like a circle of friends, the ability to assemble in a purposeful physical space was crucial. Designated gathering spaces served multiple purposes: attracting members, fostering a sense of belonging, and setting the tone for interaction. Shared physical space enabled real-time communication, story-sharing, and idea exchange. Face-to-face interactions offered a tangible and immediate sense of connection, allowing individuals to bond over common experiences, goals, or affiliations. Regular gatherings, activities, and events nurtured shared interests, forged deeper connections, fostered a strong sense of community, and led to the development of a collective identity.

Communities Thrive on Live Experiences

Today, gathering in a physical space isn’t always feasible, yet the human need for connection remains just as potent as ever. The internet has empowered communities to transcend geographical boundaries, fostering connections where physical gatherings are impossible. However, live experiences remain essential for building strong communities. Asynchronous and text-based online interactions, while valuable, lack the immediacy, energy, and non-verbal communication cues crucial for fostering true understanding and developing strong bonds. Real-time interactions provide the rich context of facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language — essential aspects of communication necessary for true understanding to occur. The foundation of live experiences enables ties to form between community members and contributes to the cohesion of the community itself. But these live interactions need to unfold in a compelling place, since where community members gather is critical to their experience.

Virtual Spaces That Feel Like Real Places

The essence of “place” goes beyond brick and mortar. It represents shared space, whether physical or virtual, where community members feel welcomed, understood, and connected. In the past, in-person gathering spaces facilitated this, and the shared physical experience became an integral part of community identity, strengthened by regular meetings, events, and casual interactions. The focus on “place” remains crucial today, even as technology shapes news pathways for community formation. The key lies in creating compelling virtual spaces that foster these same elements of connection, belonging, and shared experience. Welo achieves this with our virtual spaces that feel like real places, serving as foundational locations for members to converge, relationships to form, and communities to emerge. Our warm, inviting, and compelling purpose-designed environments go beyond the limitations of standard video calls and asynchronous chat rooms, providing members with a sense of physical presence within the space and replicating proximity to others. This allows for spontaneous conversations to easily occur and genuine connections to quickly form.

Shared location is crucial in the formation and sustenance of various communities. Let’s take a look at some examples of how communities function in physical spaces and how they can thrive in Welo’s virtual spaces:

  • Workplaces
    • A shared workspace provides an environment where colleagues can communicate, collaborate, and build relationships through daily interactions, leading to the formation of coworkers, teams, and a professional community.
    • Welo offers engaging workspaces with various room types that facilitate all-hands meetings, team collaboration, and individual productivity. Recreational spaces are available for coworkers to take a break, relax, and casually chat, recreating the camaraderie found in physical office spaces. Guests and clients are able to easily visit the space, just like in real life. Welo’s virtual workspaces enable employers to assemble teams without geographical limitations, allowing companies to recruit the best talent from across the country or anywhere in the world.
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
    • The VFW hall serves as a physical space where veterans can come together, share stories, and find understanding and support from those who have had similar military experiences.
    • Virtual VFW halls in Welo provide a space for veterans to gather, share experiences, and support one another, mirroring the camaraderie found in physical VFW halls. Welo spaces go beyond planned events or functions, existing as a constant place for veterans to visit at any time. As military veterans age or face mobility issues, Welo VFW halls enable them to easily connect and find community support, regardless of physical constraints and geographical limitations.
  • Book Clubs
    • Gathering in someone’s home or a designated space provides a comfortable and intimate setting to discuss literature, fostering deeper connections through shared thoughts and opinions.
    • Welo offers an accessible platform for virtual book club meetings, providing compelling spaces where participants can discuss literature, share opinions, and build connections with the community. Book discussions hosted in Welo make it possible for a wider variety of participants to attend from geographically dispersed areas. Our purpose-designed spaces allow for a more tailored experience, accommodating both larger, all-inclusive expert-led discussions as well as smaller group chats in breakout rooms. This flexibility enhances the overall book club experience, as readers from all over the world can easily gather, discuss literature, share opinions, and form friendships based on a shared interest.
  • Alumni Engagement
    • Meetings and events draw local alumni and provide opportunities for attendees to reconnect, reminisce, network, and solidify their connection to the university community.
    • Welo spaces make it possible for global alumni populations to attend events and forums together. Underserved alumni residing in remote areas now have the opportunity to engage with other alumni as well as representatives from the university. Alumni relations departments are able to offer programs, such as mentorship and knowledge sharing, to alumni living in different regions. Because Welo spaces exist beyond designated events, they provide opportunities for alumni to casually pop in and connect with fellow alumni and university staff. As alumni age or relocate, Welo virtual spaces enable them to maintain ties to the alumni community, which strengthens the global alumni network.
  • Special Interest Courses (Creative Writing, Foreign Language Instruction, Personal Development and Wellness, Coding or Programming, Etc.)
    • Traditional classrooms offer a structured environment where students can engage, learn, and form connections based on shared interests. Students are able to develop new skills, collaborate on projects, and receive guidance from the instructor.
    • Welo’s purpose-designed learning and development spaces accommodate various learning needs, from expert-led discussions to more intimate breakout sessions, which allows for a tailored and inclusive learning experience. Students benefit from live instruction, participation in collaborative activities, and interactive discussions. Instructors can easily pop in and out of breakout groups, just as in a physical classroom setting. Welo enables students to participate in courses led by top experts who don’t reside locally, fostering a higher level of learning and understanding. Students are able to connect with others who share their interests from around the world, enhancing the overall experience as participants can share perspectives and collaborate across borders, leading to the formation of interest-specific global online learning communities.

In our increasingly digital world, the need for connection remains undiminished, but limitations often constrain our ability to physically gather together. Welo’s vibrant virtual spaces not only bridge this gap but redefine the essence of “place” for community building. By recreating the feeling of place within our purpose-designed environments, Welo transcends the constraints of physical boundaries, offering compelling and inclusive spaces for community members to converge, relationships to form, and communities to thrive. Welo is more than a platform; it becomes a dynamic and vital hub where the shared experience of place fosters genuine human connection, echoing the historical significance of gathering in compelling spaces for community identity and cohesion.

Curious if Welo is the right place for your community? We’d love to show you why Welo is the place where community happens. Come visit us here — we can’t wait to say hi and show you around our space.

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