Building a community or building your brand?
Another blog post that was first written in German. It’s progress, I guess.
I’ve been out networking again, at 12min, the only and biggest regular local event I have found so far with “networking” in its job description.
It was less confusing for me than the first time around where I felt the need to write a long post about why people should network using the hashtag. My intention in going to these things is still to find out where I can make some sort of a contribution, so I try to do something productive with all my confusion and ask a lot of questions. At least I now have more of an idea why, although the hashtag is displayed as part of the brand, nobody uses it. One of the founders of the event also has his own app for anonymous feedback and prefers to get people to use that. We’ve spoken and he does understand that a hashtag on twitter would work differently, would allow people to make sustainable connections, but I also understand that a local app should use all it can to get its name out there.
It’s just good business. After all, you have to please all the people who have given you money, and making the Chief Digital Officer of your Uni happy also has massive benefits.
That using this app doesn’t allow for a community to form is only by the by. A thriving community, or how your product will positively impact the lives of the users, is not part a good business plan. Every investor knows that too much heart and conscience endangers their investment. The questions your investors ask are about your growth, your competition, your branding. And my, do we love branding.
My goodness look, there is even a hashtag prominently displayed on all the branded things. Then why is it that only the organisers use it? There is no community on Twitter, and to answer the argument that locals don’t do Twitter, there is no community on Instagram either.
Contrast that with the events I and others have drawn the most benefit from. Localgovcamp and its big brother Ukgovcamp. Was there ever a big branding effort? Nope. Was and is there a thriving community? Yes, definitely. So much so that it has changed the face of the UK public sector.
So why are locals so opposed to connecting online? That is still the question I am trying to answer.
Is it because they don’t know anyone who is using social media to build a community? The local culture only knows influencers. Are the event organisers simply not aware of their role in building their community?
Is it because they are simply too comfortable? A change in behaviour requires some kind of push. Connections are a resource. Maybe life here is simply too comfortable, and business is simply too easy? Because it’s all still so new?
Is it because in order to be part of an online community, you would need to share too much about yourself? Are locals simply too closed off, too unsure of their own voices?
Are people who come to these things so much into serving their own purposes that it is simply not possible to think of doing something that would make the whole thing better for everyone?
Is everyone still to used to centralised networks to even think of a distributed network?
After speaking to a few more people, it’s probably a combination of all this.
Like always, it will just require a few people to do it until there is some kind of critical mass. Right now I’m looking for the few people who have broadly the right intentions – the only people so far I talked to and who got me, who read my previous post and agreed that it would be better to use a hashtag on twitter during events than the anonymous feedback app, were also the ones who have the most interest in the anonymous feedback app being used.
So I will keep looking.