This week in community building - Issue 44

The danger of "community-washing"

By Casper ter Kuile

My team at Sacred Design Lab and I call this 'community-washing'. The language is inspired by the term 'greenwashing' - wherein companies claim environmental brownie points without changing anything significant in their operations. Think of oil and gas companies releasing ads featuring windmills and solar panels despite massively investing in fossil fuels, for example.

The danger with community-washing is two-fold.

  1. First, that we are promised community (a rich, complex experience) but what we get is a second-rate, emoji-enabled soulless product or service that never gets anywhere deep.
  2. And second - more dangerously - that the poverty of community experience that we experience through these products and services diminishes what we think is possible for community itself.

Come for the Network, Pay for the Tool

A long but super interesting read by Toby Shorin

The uneasy Web 2.0 truce between social networks, legacy media, and brands is falling apart. Once it was held together by ad tech. But advertising spends keep going up, brand content is at peak saturation, and audiences are slowly but surely evacuating the big social media companies. Can the three forces β€” social media, content, and commerce β€” find a new way relate to each other?

Here enters the question of community.

As high quality content and effective brand strategy move down the long tail, β€œcommunity” has become an important concept for every post-Web 2.0 player. Crypto token holders, influencer fanbases, DTC brand customers, creator audiences, and new social networks are all often referred to as communities, and each has a stake in developing community for itself.

The Inuit don't shout at their children – so why do we?

But if communities such as the Inuit are able to foster a culture where anger is devalued and minimised – starting with their approach to parenting – is this kind of emotional expression an inevitability? Or should we be thinking more about whether the way we raise children and teenagers is a factor in western societies’ readiness to turn to anger in the first place?

Why You Need a Community: Opportunity Exposure and the Internet Echo Chamber

The middleground can be thought of as a combination of people, places, and events that provide a way of getting the underground communities to interact with each other. It can be a place where people gather, like a bar or a cafe. Influential people, like investors, are good at bringing different communities together. At events, you never know who you could run into. This is where real life communities have an advantage.

And there is much more…

🐦 Twitter

How can we build better communities?

We are on a quest to learn and explore what makes great communities.


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