It’s hard to know where to begin. The origins of this little corner of the web can be traced to so many disparate places that it makes the United Nations look homogenous.
The catalyst that sparked this blog’s creation, however, is crystal clear. A week ago, a Facebook status update came across my FB news-feed that kicked off a social media phenomenon that is still swirling around me. Sebastien chronicles the events that followed on his Praized blog and there’s no need to repeat them here and I’m still struggling to synthesize what it all means.
There is one aspect of this event, however, that affirms what I have believed for quite some time: Online social communities are like matter – they cannot be created nor destroyed.
But, you say, how do you explain the 1500+ folks who have joined your Facebook group? Aren’t they a social community that was created online? Nope. The Business 2.0 community is merely reflected online. Business 2.0 Editor-in-Chief Josh Quittner makes my point in the closing of his recent blog post on the subject of his magazine’s demise (and our efforts to save it),
We should have turned Business 2.0 into a real social network long ago. Who knew that, secretly, that it already was one.
It already was one. This is so key to understanding online social networking and social media. The Business 2.0 community has existed for as long as the magazine has – it has just never been represented online in quite the way it is now. This is true of almost all successful online communities – the ‘tie that binds’ is offline. Online social platforms like Facebook have simply taken down barriers to many-to-many communications in much the same way that email took down those same barriers for one-to-one communication a decade ago.
What have we learned?
LaSandra Brill, in her coverage of the ‘Save Business 2.0’ phenomenon, nailed it when she closed with the phrase,
…do you have a secret community that needs to be unleashed?
This is the question every brand manager, PR rep, marketer, NGO exec, social media consultant, etc. must ask themselves before they try to ‘create’ a community online. Chances are, the community is already there – unleash it!
BTW, if you want to read more about the ‘Save Business 2.0’ efforts, here’s a list of coverage:Pin It