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by Peter Kim  |  
September 22, 2008

200: As in The Committee of 200, a group of highly successful and highly influential female professionals. Last week, I was a guest speaker at The Committee of 200's (C200) annual conference outside of Dallas. Have you ever heard of the C200? Probably not - membership is by invitation only for women who either own businesses larger than $15 million or wield corporate responsibility over a budget larger than $250 million. Those aren't easy things to do, regardless of gender.

I heard some powerful stories while in Texas and was impressed by the close bonds within the community.
Earlier in the week, I attended the Web 2.0 Expo in New York. The event unfolded on a Javits-sized scale - which anyone who attends conferences knows means "pretty big." (LVCC-scale would be the West coast equivalent, maybe). Almost all of the people I met there were people who I first met online - through blogs, tweets, or social networks. And subsequently seeing them in person almost seems like meeting a long lost pen pal in person.
Consider a third example of community - the readers of this blog, many of whom are going to meet up next month in Arizona. I'm sure the people who attend will be energized and excited to meet the people they've been exchanging comments with and maybe even debate an issue or two in person.
It strikes me that no matter how many awesome features and user interface changes roll out on web community sites - like "social media advertising" - our need to connect face-to-face does not diminish. Probably gets even stronger.

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Peter is Chief Strategy Officer of Dachis Group and a leading advisor on social business. He co-authored the book Social Business By Design and drives global industry discourse at and as @peterkim on Twitter.

Peter has been quoted by media outlets including CNN, CNBC, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal and featured as a speaker at events including SXSW, Web 2.0 Expo, and Dachis Group Social Business Summits.

Peter was previously an analyst at Forrester Research and head of international marketing operations, e-commerce, and digital marketing at PUMA AG. He holds degrees from the Darden School at the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania.

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  • by Levon Mon Sep 22, 2008 via blog

    I have never heard of the C200 until now? I have heard of the Fortune 500 though which is similar but more public. We all watched their fortunes diminish recently as all of the world's financial markets were on the verge of collapse. Have you heard of the American Express Black card - it is also by invitation only. We base so much in our society on money and the clubs you can join once you attain it. Is that all there is to life? I agree nothing beats face-to-face.

  • by Lewis Green Mon Sep 22, 2008 via blog

    I agree Pete. The need for face-to-face interaction cannot be superceded by social media, at least as long as those of us who lived before the conversation age began remain alive. Question: Don't mean to spark controversy (yes I do) but I am troubled by women (or men) only groups. I think exclusion hurts everyone, including members of the exclusive group.

  • by Nick Stamoulis Mon Sep 22, 2008 via blog

    C200 - I have never heard of it but what a great Committee to have! I'm surprised it is not more publicized...good to see people such as yourself are talking about it.

  • by Peter Kim Tue Sep 23, 2008 via blog

    Levon - from what I saw, this group wasn't focused on frivolous issues, as you imply. On the other hand, the Amex Black/Centurion card certainly is all about conspicuous consumption. I once had a guy who worked for me who had one (who clearly didn't need to be working for me) - he had some pretty solid economic reasons for possessing it. Lew - I agree with you that separation isn't always ideal. But isn't that what communities are about? E.g. the MarketingProfs community is separate from other digital media entities, which gives it meaning. Divisions based on gender, race, or religion stir up deep emotions - but don't we need communities, just like brands, to help define who we are and aren't?

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