Making a Potent and Powerful Community: Don't Add Water

How Do You Make a Community?

If your answer is, "Add 3 cups of water to your concentrate and mix thoroughly," that will make a delicious drink but doesn't translate to communities . In fact, watering it down is the last thing you should do. What does a community look like? If you've heard me speak at conferences on the subject of social media or community building before you've probably heard my analogy. To me, a community looks like frozen orange juice from concentrate. Have you ever popped the top off that can of OJ--your mouth starts watering when you see that glistening frozen orange goodness--and you're so thirsty that you plunge a spoon in to scoop out just a taste of it? Then you gag...cringe... and squint your eyes as your tongue is delivered a shot of super-sour. It's way too potent and strong. A powerful community is like this. It's a potent gene pool of talent. It's not about how many members you have. Keeping score and placing value on quantity without consideration for activation and quality is like watered down juice--worthless and tastes terrible. Seth Godin, author of the book Tribes wrote a lot about this and points out that we all consciously or unconsciously belong to several tribes (communities) in our family, work, religious and other social circles. We want to associate with people who are like-minded and accept us. And be where we can improve ourselves or just have fun. Communities worth investing time in are strong and united, concentrated and focused on a cause or mission. And like the frozen juice, they are bonded--with people who stick together, rely on each other and meet up often to get to know each other and build relationships of trust. If you talk to my friend Chris Brogan, social media mogul, thought leader and best selling author of the book Trust Agents, he will tell you that "community vs group or audience has to do with which way the chairs are facing." That is, audiences, like people who gather to watch a performance, movie or ball game all face the performance. Chris points out that in a community, the chairs face each other so there can be dialogue and interaction.

Leaders vs Followers

This IS WAR

I heard the song "THIS IS WAR" a while ago and it got me thinking about business. We are at war; these are perilous times for many of us. But I think most of the time we don't fail because we don't have the ability. We fail more often because we get in our own way. *I already know enough about marketing. *I'm too busy. *I'm too tired. *What I'm doing is good enough. *I already have enough business connections. *There are already too many people doing what I do that I can't compete. *Nobody cares. *I don't have enough budget.*I don't have enough resources.*I don't have enough experience.*I have too much experience. *Trying something different is uncomfortable. *Trying something different is admitting that what I'm doing now is not working or not good enough. *If I don't try, I don't fail. If I don't fail, I can convince myself and others I'm worth keeping on the team.

THIS IS WAR. But in this war we don't just pick our battles. We choose who wins.

Are You Withholding?

Are You Withholding? This is one part blog post and one part poll of sorts... I'm curious in the context of a platform like Google+ (can we just say "plus" yet?), Facebook or Twitter, why you may or may not be withholding +1's, shares and comments... Let's not focus on the obvious stuff like not participating because it's too personal, private, inappropriate et al. Let's also avoid the cop out answer, "it depends." There's plenty of great content being posted by "somebodies and nobodies" but there's a definite sharing gap... I catch myself withholding in personal and professional relationships for a variety of reasons...

By definition:

Withholding =

1. Refuse to give (something that is due to or is desired by another): "the withholding of consent to treatment".

2. Suppress or hold back (an emotion or reaction). *If you're an employer or the government you are likely withholding a portion of my money... ;) Personally speaking my bouts with withholding tend to come during power struggles. When I don't feel like I'm being treated fairly or want to express my disappointment I have been known to withhold: smiles, hugs, praise, respect, kindness, generosity, other opportunities, money etc. This is of course the grown up version of a tantrum. There are some occasions when I deserve whatever is being withheld--Example: my wife knows how to work this when I'm a jerk, I find myself on the couch... Are you withholding comments, praise or attention from certain posts, conversations or hangouts? If so, why? What is your criteria to share? How much depends on how well you know the person? For example, if you're well known, do you hang with the well-known crowd only? The opposite might be true too--lesser known's might only hang with their circles.. Does it have anything to do with status? Are you withholding because of implications to your status or to avoid conflict of interest? Is it a function of time or lack of? Let me know why or why not...

"No One Gives You Initiative, You Have To Take It"

This is the second post in a series of 3 from author Seth Godin's visit to Linked Orange County in March, 2011. If you don't know Godin, you can get some more background on him here. But suffice to say, in my opinion he's one of the brightest marketing minds of this century...

In his latest book, Poke the Box Seth asks, "Who is your VP of Go? There's usually a VP of No, but who's job is it to say yes, go, do..."

In his typical fashion Seth puts a new spin on outdated thinking as he challenges Yoda's age-old advice that many have considered gospel for (light) years. Godin said, "I'm not sure Yoda was right when he said, 'Do or do not, there is no try.' YES! There is a try, try is the opposite of hiding." Sage words indeed from a modern guru who also happens to not have much hair.

Here's more video interview on the subject--take a look. If you haven't seen these photos from the event, check them out.

Photo credit: Brian Carter, Pixel That! Photography

Behind the Brand | Seth Godin

If failure's not an option, then neither is success...

Seth Godin Challenges You To Fail---full interview