If you are reading this, then I suspect you already know the answer....

I was reading this post over at CK's blog and was struck by the way communities organize themselves organically.
Of course, the article interested me straight away as it was about Buffy the Vampire Slayer (in my view, one of the best-written series ever made) ... and the way that the Buffy Community continues strongly several years after the end of the series. (I work with a number of Buffy fans in our office and the passion still remains!)

But as CK points out, your community is a "standing army" of believers (they believe in your product, your service etc). They are passionately committed to your work or output. They will trial it, test it, provide feedback. They will even stand-by you when you over promise and under-deliver ... well most times they will. Really, your community is your safety net.

Sometimes this means that your community will be seen as a collection of weirdos (even your CEO may take this view) ... it is precisely this passion that sets them apart from the mainstream. It is this passion that makes them camp overnight to order the new Xbox360 or PlayStation console. It is this evangelistic streak in graphic designers that is harnessed so well by Apple. It is this single-mindedness that creates a market for elite racing bikes for use on suburban Sunday roads.

From the outside, a strong and active community is seen as a collection of weirdos. It's easy to see why ... dilated pupils, intense conversations, sleepless nights, spurious talk of "what-if" scenarios, compulsion, tension and even secret handshakes. Sound like anyone you know? All bloggers look into the mirror and repeat after me "One person's passionate community is another's collection of weirdos ... and that's ok".

Thanks to Ann Handley for suggesting this topic!

Photo originally uploaded by f.p.o..

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Gavin in VP & Principal Analyst with Constellation Research Group. He possesses extensive international experience in driving measurable outcomes via digital customer experience platforms, digital strategy and executing innovative content driven campaigns. With a background in enterprise technology innovation, digital strategy and customer engagement, Gavin connects the dots between disruptive technologies, enterprise governance and business leaders.

Most recently, Gavin led the customer experience, communication and social media programs for SAP's Premier Customer Network. And over the last 15 years, he has been at the forefront of innovative digital strategies for some of the world's leading companies - from IBM to Fujitsu - and on the agency side, leading the global digital strategy for McDonald's.