As I write this first year recap of #createlounge, my weekly Twitter chat, I'm blinking away (happy) tears while searching for a word that accurately describes how I feel in this moment. I still haven't found one.
All I know is that every Wednesday at 7 PM CT, magic happened.
What once started as my way to consistently meet and share experiences with fellow creatives has now grown into a thriving community making big waves in the creative space. You can almost hear our pulse every time we meet.
I created the chat after participating in various PR and social media related Twitter chats for a year and a half. I liked chatting with other PR professionals, but I lit up like a Christmas tree when I talked to creative bloggers and entrepreneurs.
As I shifted my brand to fit this audience, I searched for chats that were dedicated to these creatives. At the time, there were none. I saw a huge gap in the industry and I was anxious to fill it. After I graduated in December 2014, I started #createlounge the following January.
#createlounge was the first Twitter chat for creative bloggers and entrepreneurs.
Since its inception, there have been dozens of other great chats for creatives that have popped up, but I still think we do a unique thing at #createlounge. But before we touch on that, let's start at the beginning.
As a special little throwback, here's the first tweet about #createlounge ever. (Thank heavens we changed the visual after the first chat. *face palm*)
First, let’s start with the stats.
While I often talk about my names over numbers approach to community building, I do believe numbers can help to show the growth and reach of a community. For readers who are data obsessed, this next section is for you.
- 52,091 total mentions
- 2,735 unique participants (with hundreds of regulars!)
- 127 million total impressions
(Please note all stats were taken from 1/1/2015 to 1/1/2016. There were 48 total chats as 2 were cancelled for holidays and 2 for work conflicts.)
Also, it’s worthwhile to note 68% of the total mentions above were replies, meaning #createlounge is the highly engaging community I always dreamed it would be.
Of course numbers don’t tell the real story, but stories and photos do.
Here are a few of our community "wins" after one year:
We’ve seen #createlounge members launch blogs and businesses
Being a creative is tough. Whether you’re battling harsh criticism, crippling doubts, or falling prey into the comparison game, having a die-hard community of fierce creatives rallied around you can help you go from launchpad to take-off.
For Devan Danielle, the community at #createlounge was the big push she needed in order to launch her blog to complement her branding design business.
Here’s what she had to say about #createlounge:
“During my first #createlounge chat, not only was Kayla super welcoming, but the amazing community encouraged me to pick a launch date for my blog. Without that push, my blog probably still would not be up today! I owe a lot of my beginning blog engagement to Kayla and the lovely community she built.”
As a fun side note, since meeting Devan through #createlounge, we've become extremely close. Like text each other every day, how-did-I-ever-do-life-without-this-girl close.
I even took a road trip to see her last month to have a #GIRLBOSS weekend and envision what the next year could look like for #createlounge. Case in point: Twitter chats are an awesome place to find your business besties.
We’ve helped creatives step out of their comfort zones
Creativity is synonymous with boldness and courage. Being a creative means taking a leap of faith into the unknown and pushing fear aside. This is what we try to do every week at #createlounge.
After the quick rise of Periscope, many members expressed an interest in utilizing the new platform but were nervous about live video broadcasting. After hosting a chat on building your personal brand on Periscope, a few #createlounge members got the extra dose of courage they needed to do their first scope (awesome creatives like LaShonda, Olive, Krista, Hayli, Kristin, and Caitlin to name a few). This is just one example of how our community members are continually pushing past their doubts in order to make beautiful things happen.
We’ve grown an offline community
Nothing brings a smile to my face more than seeing photos and tweets from #createlounge members who grabbed a coffee or drink with someone they met locally through the chat. I guess we’ve become a friendship matchmaker! I’m more than okay with that.
I’ve been able to vastly grow my offline community in Minneapolis as well. Toward the end of 2015, I hosted a few casual dinners in order to meet more Minnesota natives that wandered into the chat. This group now endlessly inspires me and is my IRL cheerleading squad.
#createlounge also helped me grow closer to a few other incredible creatives in Minneapolis like Lindsay, Andy, Chris, Michelle, and Anthony so for that I am extremely grateful. It was also great meeting Bree while she was visiting Minneapolis last month and looking forward to having Alyssa visit in March!
If you’re ever in Minneapolis, give me a holler. I’ll treat you to hot chocolate regardless of the season.
Most of all, we've connected creatives far beyond the chat hour
During our chat on the power of handwritten letters, many members tweeted "How cool would it be to have #createlounge pen pals?" and my answer was "Super, wicked cool." We quickly made it happen! We paired creatives based on their niche so they could connect with like-minded creatives. One of our regulars, Emily, took this awesome photo of her letter exchanges with her pen pal, Nikki.
And now for a special thank you
If you're reading this and have been a part of the #createlounge community, thank you for sharing your creative heart with us over the past year. It's been an honor getting to know you every week. You are the light of #createlounge, the fuel that keeps us moving forward. A thousand times thank you.
If you're reading this and haven't met our community, we'd LOVE to have you join in! Join our Twitter chat on Wednesdays at 7 PM CT and share your creations with us on Instagram using #createlounge. Feel free to wave and say hello before chat at any time too.
Join our #createlounge community!
Have you thought about starting a Twitter chat? Maybe another community extension? I'd love to hear about it in the comment section below!