Are you organizing people the right way?
I read a post from @TheBrandBuilder where he talked about dropping the word followers from Twitter, replacing it with something else. He made the point that it is not about leading, it is about creating a community. I read a post from @Scobleizer decrying Twitter and FriendFeed in favor of a blog so that the knowledge can be retained.
The problem comes down to definitions.
A commune is a cacophonic group. Users with a common purpose flock to a commune to be surrounded by people that have similar tastes, thoughts, or desires. Users aggregate in a common place, or platform in the electronic world, just to share. A commune is a many-to-many disorganized conversation with no rules or enforcers. Limited learning opportunities exist as there is no organized knowledge.
Twitter is an excellent commune.
A collective is a one-way conversation when a group of users shares a common goal, with strict operating guidelines, a hierarchy, and an entity that “leads” ensuring all users have the same goal. While knowledge capture and indexing generally happen on collectives, the opportunities to learn and grow are limited by the single-goal and its hierarchy. Most “communities” sponsored by vendors are collectives.
Collectives require knowledge management.
A community is a like-minded group of individuals that favors two-way communication as a way to increase their power and knowledge. Communities are self-regulated and self-administered. Whereas a collective tries to change its participants into similarly styled members, a community preserves individuality to improve all members. Ratings and reputation are added to the knowledge to simulate a hierarchy.
Communities manage reputations to add value to the experience.
As you build a strategy to aggregate users for value keep in mind your needs for conversations, knowledge, and value when choosing the best model.
What are you building? Leave me a comment, let me know.