[ courtesy gapingvoid ]
Adam Tinworth’s taken media owners and publishers to task for their little-understood and poorly-implemented attempts to ‘do community’ in a terrific post: Why Media Gets Community Wrong
Most media people don’t realise that blogging is a community strategy. They think of it as a publishing process and, perhaps, as articles published with a particular tone of voice. They certainly don’t think of it as a conversation.
Adam’s post is particularly focused on journalists and publishers, but it’s woefully true of brands’ and brand-owners’ approach to online communication – and the source of much frustration when dealing with clients!
Building a load of forums on your website doesn’t tick the ‘community’ box. I know you think it’s absolutely fabulous and incredibly modern to have a ‘community’ section on your site, but as Adam points out “making that your only point of community interaction with your readers is roughly like inviting some guests round – and then not letting them out of the guest bedroom.”
Or adding a blog, which you think is oh-so-web-2.0 – except that you don’t allow comments. Or if you do, don’t participate in the conversation. Or listen to what your commenters are actually telling you. Because, after all, it’s much more important to have control over what’s published, and to ensure that only the nice stuff gets posted, than to actually engage with your reader, isn’t it?
To really, genuinely engage with your readers you have to embed it [community] in everything you publish to some degree
And for brands, this is no different. Community isn’t a place. It’s about people. People own their communities, brands don’t. And whether you’re a media owner, a publisher or a brand (or all three), isn’t developing a relationship with your reader or consumer the ultimate goal? And which relationship would you rather be in – one where you’re talked at, or one where you partake in two-way conversation?