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Featured on Jun 19, 2012

Miriam Illions

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Albert Einstein"


I've been on the front end of Hometalk since day one. Creating a community from scratch is a crazy experience of trials and triumphs, highs and lows. I am grateful for the position that I'm in and am inspired by the people that surround me. Having just moved to NYC (from ATL) to work with some amazing people, I'm thrilled to be surrounded by such a creative community. I know that I couldn't be in a better place to continue on this awesome journey.

  • Title: Director of Community Development, Hometalk
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Noho
  • Contact: @miriamillions

It seems like the community at Hometalk right now is quite active and vibrant. Can you give a couple of tips to new startups on how to build up such an active community?

Definitely. Building relationships with your core users is the obvious component, but  another important aspect is to make it easy for them to build relationships with each other. These relationships keep them coming back to the site, even when they don't necessarily have a need for something specific. On Hometalk, the community bonds over a shared love for home improvement and the desire to help each other.

When we first launched the site, I personally met with as many of our early members as I could to get their feedback on how to improve the site. It was also an opportunity to share the vision of what we were trying to accomplish. Our current community is derived from that core group of people who shared our vision. This is an instrumental beginning to any community - solidifying the foundation is critical in the early stages.

What was the hardest thing to get used to in New York coming from Atlanta?  

Oh, my. Where to start! Well, I worked on my own a lot in ATL, often spending 12 hours straight at the office glued to my computer. In NY, I'm always surrounded by people, which is different but so nice! I don't think anything was hard, per se, just different. I've actually been in Atlanta for two years, having moved there from Israel; speaking of  getting used to things! I'm originally from NY and moved to Israel at a young age. Now that I'm back here, I feel like I've come full circle.

We noticed you attended the Social Media Summit this year. Did anything you hear at the conference change the way you handle social media for Hometalk? If so, how?

I make it a point to continuously educate myself when it comes to social media, and it broadened my perspective quite a bit. The real test comes when it’s time to translate what you’ve learned into an actionable plan for your own user base.  They offered a lot of great information and useful tools for monitoring and tracking social media efforts. At the end of the day, however, you just have to get out there, try things out, identify what worked and why, and learn from your mistakes and successes.


Social Media, Community Management, Community Manager