I appreciate you reading my post, Scott!
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on the role of a community builder, what makes someone a “member” of a community (in the more theoretical sense, not in the case of a forum or something of that sort), the different kinds of value that community can offer, etc.
I have started to realize that engagement is not necessarily the only goal to show that a community is successful. :) (As a disclaimer, I’m thinking of community building in the broader sense, not in the business sense of building a brand/product community.) A community member can still find value from a community or feel that sense of identity/belonging even if they aren’t actively engaging in asking questions, sharing thoughts, etc. Though I suppose they are “engaged” by feeling that sense of identity, so perhaps that word truly can encompass it all! Depending on the definition of the word “engagement” :)
As for your thoughtful question about the purpose of engagement… I think unlocking potential is an incredible possible result of people being involved in a community! To me, simply feeling a meaningful connection to a group of people is a powerful result, too. :)
Haha this was a fun exercise in attempting to articulate the thoughts swirling around in my head… thanks for prompting this reflection!