Engagement is no accident.
The term "community building" came into my vernacular starting a twitch channel and learning about setting up a channel, a discord server, a schedule and what behaviours generate the kind of following an "community" you would have in your niche of the internet.
There's obviously a sweet science to pandering to the masses and getting the highly coveted "engagement" or in baser term - "attention". It is after all the "attention economy".
The lower "common denominator" peddlers making cringey commodity people the baseline personality of any visual medium where everything's scripted and fake authenticity is the currency of exchange. Everyone's trying to be and feel special by acting and behaving like everyone else.
I rever the thinkers (and writers) who comment on these topics from their vantage point of having executed, won, most probably lost in the very space they offer their critique.
Seth Godin is one of these people, I read his blog frequently and think on, not just his words, but the ideas behind, and in front of those words. So when Seth is calling for being intentional, for finding your "minimum viable audience", by identifying the niche that you're there to serve, to delight and solve for... it resonates with me.
I'm building a community. Slowly. At times, unsuccessfully. Painfully. It takes time, consistency, genuine interest and care. When you see those small shoots of life begin to emerge, you're grateful and you know these didn't come about by accident. No-one owes me a community. Nobody owes me anything. I'm not entitled to your attention. If I start there, I don't believe I can ever be confused what the price is for the result I'm after. That I shouldn't pay it reluctantly from a place of scarcity, but not see it as a price at all but as an investment, or better yet, a donation towards something you could never put a price on.
The engagement didn't appear out of the blue. I invested time, effort and genuine care for that engagement. It's not owed to me, but it's no accident.