February 6, 2013

Online communities are discovered, not made

How communities of interest emerge organically

Chris AbrahamWhile I was gobsmacked by composer Eric Whitacre and his virtual choir 2,000 voices strong, Whitacre didn’t make the community that resulted in “Sleep” (embedded above). He allowed it, he enabled it, he discovered it, he facilitated it. There were always 2,052 people in the world who hungered to make art with their voices in a profound way with others.

All that Eric Whitacre did was allow it to happen.

In the past, before the advent of a sophisticated and user-friendly Internet, men and women would pack a duffle bag and catch a Greyhound bus in order to follow their dreams. Dreams had been always associated with two things: 1) getting away from all the negative Nellies who diminished their dreams as selfish, unattainable, or foolhardy, and 2) going someplace where you would finally find birds of a feather. New York for writers and actors, Cambridge for smarties and philosophers, L.A. for movie stars and rockers, and San Francisco if you just needed an all-accepting culture embrace.

These cities were destinations not because of their skyscrapers but because of the people and cultures housed within. Continue reading