What is Community?

I recently had a chance to attend Gnomedex as a sponsored guest as Seesmic. Seeing this group of eclectic geeks laughing, sharing, debating, learning and building relationships – and for me personally -getting to know many of the people at the conference hit a personal chord. One of the things that I’ve been toying around with was the idea of what community is to many of the social media or community managers in the industry.

One of the things that I’ve done is conduct some flip cam interviews. This is not so much a large-scale project as the 100 Interview project by Derek Overbey and Morgan Brown – but I simply wanted to ask what community is to each of them.

I had a previous post of quoting Chris Hughes of not knowing what community is. Sometimes, I find myself feeling the same way. I thought it would be a good opportunity to spend this next month toying, contemplating, joking, struggling on what community is.

I’ll most likely take advantage of the following resources for helping define community:

  • Interviews with those involved in the social media / community building industry
  • Resources and other links/reports/interviews from industry leaders, peers, friends and probably some rivals or enemie
  • I’ll most likely profile many people in my circle of influence, as well as role models, teachers in the industry.
  • My experiences in managing communities at Seesmic, along with Loic Le Meur’s experience and guidance
  • My previous job experiences in managing communities before my position in community involvement (product manager, project manager, support, client services, developer)
  • My past experiences in managing communities in technology, social media, and in non-profit and ecclesiastic (yes, church…) settings

As I try to sort this out, I would like to start of with Shashi Bellamkonda, the “Social Media Swami” from Network Solutions. First of all, Social Media Swami is a title that I would die for. Second, this man is the real deal when it comes to creating a community in the tech industry, and I found myself very lucky to have met him.

Looking forward to seeing what I come up with in the next several days…

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