What is Community?Apr 28, 2023
On July 18, 2009, Chris Pirillo uploaded a video called, “What Is Community?” Thirteen years later, I still come back to this video. In fact, I spoke with Chris recently and he shared that he still shares it with people. It is timeless, because the concept of community is timeless.
I’m going to do my best here to describe what community is, in my own words.
Well into his video, Chris says, “community is in the HEART.” It’s powerful when he says it, because this one word describes the exact place where any community lives.
I can use Slack, Discord, a Facebook Group, or my own community on Kajabi and the one thing, the one ingredient that still has to be there is your heart and the hearts of the others in that community.
Each of us as individuals is like a planet surrounded by our interests and our value systems.
Those interests and value systems are the ingredients of what is in your heart!
When our mutual interests and value systems overlap, we have the makings of a community.
Let’s say you and I both love hanging out in coffee shops. As it happens, I do love being in coffee shops. I enjoy the atmosphere – the smell, the people there sitting with their laptops in their own little mini communities, collaborating or doing their work separately while sitting together so they can stop and chat now and then.
I remember a few years ago when I had to have my car repaired. The shop was going to need it for most of the day, and I didn’t want to go all the way home and come back. So I had their shuttle take me to a nearby Starbucks.
I spent hours there, working. During that time I had a notary come by so I could get some documents notarized. I made that Starbucks my office for the day.
And for the record, I am not talking specifically about Starbucks. Starbucks is too commercialized. Too brightly lit. There was a “real” coffee shop I used to go to when I lived in a different part of Los Angeles called Insomnia Café. It’s gone now, unfortunately, but they catered to writers. In fact, when I would go there you could see people working on scripts, clearly hoping theirs would be the next big Hollywood film!
Insomnia was open until 2 AM.
It was dimly lit.
There were couches and tables you could sit at.
And the rules were well stated…
You can engage in light chatter, but keep it low. Like a library. People would come there for that atmosphere, specifically.
If you want to be loud and aggressive and vexatious to the spirit, go to Starbucks!
Did you watch my video called “You Do You?” I talked about my home office setting, but one thing I didn’t mention (that would be very fair to say) is that the ambiance I’ve created here is very much like a coffee shop. That’s why I love it so much, and I don’t really care whether or not it makes for the best possible background in my videos.
Now, let’s say you also love coffee shops. Let’s also say that you and I live close to one another. Let’s further add that you and I both love tech and apps and the things that help us work more effectively, more efficiently, and with greater accuracy.
These are the interest and value systems that align us, that make us want to get together and share ideas.
To put this into perspective, let’s look at something that has torn apart many “would be” communities.
Social media is supposed to be about community, but write up one political post with an opinion and you can rest assured that someone in that thread will be ripping someone else a new one in short order. Politics seems to have the effect of turning otherwise rational adults into unstable, irrational children.
In short, the subject of politics, thanks to social media, has the effect of tearing communities apart. We have been watching this happen on a global scale for years now.
Back to the positive side of community.
Chris gave an example in his video of a Venn diagram.
That overlapping section in the middle in purple?
That’s where your and my values and interests overlap. This is the exact region where our hearts are aligned. And this is the home of our mutual community.
Many companies have sprouted up “communities” using Facebook Groups. Many have used various apps. Some have tried apps,but then moved back to Facebook Groups because they aren’t getting engagement.
The reality is that Facebook Groups are the very worst as far as the software goes. The reason they work well is due to the way Facebook operates. Facebook has all kinds of features that have a way of notifying you and getting you hooked on coming back to check these notifications. Most of us find these notifications singularly annoying, yet we give into them.
So here is my question for you to consider:
How can you build a community outside of a Facebook Group that has the power to drive engagement, more than Facebook does? Is it even possible?
Of course it is. See my recent video entitled, “Nothing is Impossible”.
But you have to build the community around the center.
Around the heart.
And lots of people talk about their “heart-centered community,” so let’s be clear about this, because most of these so-called heart-centered communities are superficial, at best. At worst, they are 100% a waste of time.
To do this “right” we have to define what is in the heart. We must define the exact values and interests that bring us together.
And since by now there are 1,000,000 communities out there, we have to be very specific about this. We can’t just build a community based on accountants and apps.
We’ll need to go much deeper.
As I have quietly launched my new community platform, my intention is to define just such a specific community. The platform is based on centralizing all of my planets into my one galaxy at www.nerdenterprises.com.
I plan on spending some time writing a very detailed description of the exact values and interests that will align the people who choose to participate in my community. It’s up to me to create messaging that appeals to and draws in the people who are really interested in what is there. And then it’s my job to keep people engaged by offering value that gets and keeps you engaged.
Of course, underneath all of this has to be the question of WHY am I doing this? Why should you do this?
For me, it’s simple.
Every day when I wake up and connect with someone anywhere else in the world, I feel a sense of community. I feel my heart aligning with someone else’s.
And that makes me feel good.
Beyond that, it goes back to my commitment from day one, back in 2008, when I first started putting out content that I would always make sure I offered value at every level, from a budget of $0 to wherever I presently define the limit.
In the video for this article, I am going to give you a little tour of my community to help you learn how to get around. Then I will discuss a bit of what I’ve written above.
Finally, I have an ask of YOU!
A “Call To Action!”
I need your help!
I need you to help me help you!
I need to know where you struggle, especially in any areas where you feel I can help you!
Please use that Ask Nerd form linked in the right margin of my blog and ask your questions.
This will give me videos to make, like this one.
And it will inform the very things I need to define about my community, so I can make it the best in the Galaxy!
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