By Stephen Rhodes
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
In communities, or as Wikipedia says, groups of ” interacting organisms sharing an environment,” we recognize the need for people to come together, where intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, risks, and a number of other conditions may be present and common.
Marketing guru Seth Godin wrote a book about these collectives called Tribes. He defines them as any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea.
He says, “for millions of years, humans have been seeking out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads). It’s our nature.”
Godin’s point is that the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. Blogs and social networking tools are building new communities of common interest where thousands, even millions of people, join forces around ideas, causes, sports team and product lines. In Facebook alone, 250 million people are interacting.
People in small towns understand community. They get together at the local hockey game on a Friday night, or the market on a Saturday morning or church on Sunday. These communities within the community grow out of a common interest. And within these communities an inherent trust develops between the participants.
In business, formal networking provides significant opportunity for growth on the strength of the trust developed within the group. If you have personal experience with an investment banker or venture capitalist in your networking group and a friend or associate needs one, you are likely to connect the two. But let’s say you don’t know one, but someone you trust in your group does. The trust developed within the group provides the comfort you need to make a referral.
The Internet and community builders like Twitter, Facebook and You Tube allow you to build bigger communities faster and to connect on the basis of the trust developed.