Cheap Commodity Tools for Providing Access
You can access and harness this global audience with readily available, affordable tools. Heck, you could start a community with free web hosting, a free forum, and free social media networks. The tools are not the most interesting part of the community equation; it is how we weave them into the ways people share and collaborate.
Immediate Delivery of Broad Information and Expertise
Unlike the old weekly meeting at the local community center, this global audience is immediately addressable. We can share news, information, education, and more. We can get the word out more quickly and easily than ever before, stay in touch, and build relationships electronically and in person.
Diversified Methods of Online Collaboration
As technology (and our broader understanding of it) evolves, we are figuring out new and interesting ways to work together. In ye days of old, we simply shared content. Today we can work together and collaborate around content and education, be it coding software, building hardware, writing books, making music, creating art, and more.
Most Important: A Growing Desire for Meaningful, Connected Work
After discovering Ubuntu, one child from a rural village in Africa walked two hours to his local Internet café. He would answer questions from users, write documentation and help guides, translate Ubuntu into his local language, and more. Do you know why Abayomi walked for hours to his local Internet café? It was because the work was meaningful for him. He could have an impact. While physically he was a kid in the middle of Africa, digitally he was a global player in a movement for a greater good. Abayomi is not alone. This desire is intrinsic to the human condition, and we can harness it in our communities.
Features of the Most Successful Communities
These five trends have been the foundation behind some impressive communities in recent years, many of which are from recognized brands such as Salesforce, Lego, Proctor & Gamble, and Nintendo.
These communities include users coming together to share information and guidance for others using a product, champions who actively create and consume content that promotes the success of the product or organization, and even groups of producers and creators who collaborate independently (often in conjunction with an organization’s employees) to build real, measurable value via derivative products and services.
In all of these cases, these communities are comprised of bright-eyed, enthusiastic volunteers who really care about those brands and products. No one is on the payroll, yet they do amazing work, consistently building broader brand awareness, creating content, and providing a home for like-minded users and customers.
Adapted from People Powered: How Communities Can Supercharge Your Business, Brand, and Teams by Jono Bacon, copyright Jono Bacon.