Brogan, Community, and the Power of Words

by Ken Mueller on September 10, 2009 · 3 comments

Community is at the center of all things social media. I almost feel like making a series of cheesey t-shirts or bumper stickers:

“Got Community?”

“It’s the Community, Stupid”

Community: Just Do It!”

When working with clients I always try to stress that what we are talking about is community. Whether they are starting from scratch and building their own (and inviting people to join them) or are merely joining other communities.

Chris Brogan, in his blog “Small Powerful Words” notes that companies are wise to be in communities, not own them. Even if you create a community, it is far better to be a participant than a dictator. In fact a lot of this comes from our attitude and posturing. Do we use words like “me” or “I” as opposed to more community oriented words like “we” or “us”?

One line that jumps out from Brogan’s blog:

Communities do have leaders, but that’s not always you. Communities have active participants. That one, you can do.

We are all participants in a variety of communities. Even as “owners” of communities we are far better served if we get involved as participants. The urge to “own” and take control is great. But in the world of social media and communities we must resist that urge.

Think about the “real world” communities of which you are a member (neighborhood, church, civic organization, or even a circle of friends). Do they have “owners”? If someone tries to control that community, does it make it less attractive for you to be a participant?

No matter what social networks you are involved in, you are part of those communities as well. It serves us well to act as good, responsible citizens of those communities, regardless of the amount of power we have, or desire to wield.

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Excellent point, Andrew. Though I imagine in many of those cases, the culture existed prior to Social Media, but the SM can certainly enhance and maintain that.

Andrew Steeley
Andrew Steeley

One step further than media can help build CULTURE. Think Yankees (culture of winning, *gag*), Starbucks (culture of "intelligence"), Apple (culture of "sleek") thing these entities are good at is creating an emotional bond, a loyal fandom of sorts, with customers.

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