I’m bored of businesses who talk about building community online. It’s a buzz word. Some are good. A lot of them aren’t- they’re just finding fluffier ways to market, manipulate our emotions, and give their speak a spin. Just because someone likes your corporate post on Facebook, or retweets your funny video, doesn’t mean you’re building community with them. What you’re doing may have a lot of really good value, but lets not call it community.
Where I come from- community is about relating to others, sharing with others, journeying, expressing your ups and your downs and having a valid and at times fair expectation that those around you have got your back when you need it. There’s a level of disclosure, a level of honesty, an attempted consistency and an authenticity that creates intimacy. And without a doubt, community isn’t perfect, often far from it, but the ideals are there and more profit isn’t the agenda.
When I’m asked to join another community online, I get a tad annoyed. OK- it’s semantics for some, but it’s not for me. Like many others there is a desire to belong, to connect, to interact and to journey with those around me. And I want the real deal, as opposed to the fake imitations that are so often pointed at me.
I know the desire is to increase the ratio or number of likes or comments per post. Therefore the content is all about what’s most likely to get a reaction. But what about those important messages to share, that may not be as popular, but really do communicate authenticity. Surely, there’s some value in that, then our cleverly manipulative marketing pitches.
So to all you social media managers, please either find some new language instead of building community, or see through on your promises, and let’s explore the real deal of creating community.