A Community: a community is a group of people who engage with each other around a common interest.
Every community shares some kind of common interest (sometimes they only share a common interest). For example, when a journalist refers to ‘the scientific community’, they’re not usually referring to any specific group which meets in any particular location for a unique purpose.
They’re simply referring to people who identify themselves as scientists. That’s their common interest.
Many organizations use a similar definition when they refer to their customer base as a community (or talk about their employees and customers as a community).
These interests fall into five broad types of communities
- Interest. Communities of people who share the same interest or pass.
- Action. Communities of people trying to bring about change.
- Place. Communities of people who are brought together by geographic boundaries.
- Practice. Communities of people in the same profession or undertake the same activities.
- Circumstance. Communities of people brought together by external events/situations.
These interests fall into five broad types of communities.
Types of Communities
Every community must have some interest that connects them. The stronger the interest, the stronger the community.
What is the common interest which connects yours?
Every community needs a means of engagement.
How else would you find out about what’s going on in the community?
These means of engagement are usually many-to-many tools like social media or a dedicated forum platform where everyone can speak to everyone.
Sometimes however they’re also one-to-one (like meeting a person in your community) or one-to-many such as a following of a major influencer or media publication.
The relationships members form with each other vary from one community to the next. Some believe a community only becomes a community when people form strong relationships with one another. This is what separates a community from an audience, crowd, or even a mob.
We’re taking a more flexible definition in this guide. The community must facilitate some kind of relationship between members. That might be friends, peers, colleagues, acquaintances, or even just members who occasionally visit to get useful information.
The final element is purpose. This is the core value of the community is to members. It doesn’t mean everyone needs to be united in a singular, shared, objective. But it does need to be clear what value members get from the community.
The four major purposes of a community here are;
- Sense of belonging. Members get to feel they belong. Members can finally be themselves.
They have security and the feeling of being included as a member of a group.
- Mutual support. Members can receive support from others and help people with their
- Greater influence. Members can collaborate to have an impact on their surroundings.
- Exploration. Members can explore activities and ideas with each other.
The purpose of the community should match the community type.
We Continue in the next thread.