The word “community” is quickly approaching over and misused status in this shiny social media and word of mouth industry. And it saddens me. But don’t get me started on “social community.” What does that even mean? Isn’t the very definition of community a place where people (or things) are social?
Which brings me to my point:
Just because you get a bunch of people to sign up for your website or “like” you on Facebook, or even follow you on Twitter, doesn’t make it a community. So stop calling it one.
During my college years, I worked at a camp for four summers in a row. There were the various activities and events, but the night that really brought your cabin/teepee together was campfire night. You’d go out as a group and pick a spot in the woods to build your campfire and then hand out the ingredients for the s’mores. Everyone would pick out their marshmallow roasting stick and the bonding would begin. People would share. Open up. Talk about what really matters. It was always a powerful evening. Well, after the sugar rush wore off.
My point is that maybe we shouldn’t be concentrating on gathering communities, but starting campfires. At least it’ll force us to think about how we bring people together and what kind of interaction we want to have with them. Do you want just another personality-void gathering of random people or intimate groups of folks that are there to connect in a way that’s valuable to them (not you)?
Chew on it.