Walk into any Radio Shack and immediately upon entry you will see counters containing mobile phones from many brands representing several carriers. That’s the focus of the brand today. Conversely, walk to the rear and you step back in time to a day when the company’s main product lines consisted of electronic parts, including everything from tiny light bulbs to transistors. While most of us never venture into that area, it’s there where hobbyists spend most of their time.

In an effort to recognize this group, the company has started an online community called RadioShackDIY that allows these inventors, craftsmen and creators to share their do-it-yourself projects with others, get ideas and watch how-to videos. Actuality, it’s not only an online meeting place but also a marketing campaign, which the electronics retailer has dubbed “The Great Create.”

“Welcome to The Great Create,” says the site. “We want to know what great creations you’ve come up with using RadioShack parts. Our goal is to gather the coolest projects from our most creative customers and share them here. So, show us what you’ve got and submit your project now. Let the making begin.”

There are several “social” aspects to the community. For example, registered users can comment on projects that have been submitted and share the project with friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, as well as via email. The site also contains a blog and links to Radio Shack’s Facebook Page and Twitter account. All-in-all, as online communities go, it’s not bad.

On the “commerce” side, the community has a shopping cart – Shop DIY – that is simply a link to the Hobby & do-it-yourself section of the Radio Shack online store.

While I found no numbers related to how many members actively participate in the community, as to results of The Great Create campaign, Mercury News quotes Radio Shack’s director of marketing, Amy Shineman, as saying the program has “been well received and has had some positive results on sales and brand awareness.”

Radio Shack has also partnered with several brands that provide content: Make:, Instructables, Wired, Popular Mechanics and Popular Science.

Radio Shack The Great Create online community for hobbyists

The Great Create project gallery

A Great Create project

Hobby & do-it-yourself shopping cart