Video and Debate: Who really owns the Community?

In my research I get to interview experts in my industry such as the seasoned Bill Johnston, who’s a community expert and is very involved with community based conferences. In the video above, find out from Bill why he thinks that Marketing should, and should not own the community strategy. Bill also shares how to ‘kick-start’ a community, fortunately, it aligns with objectives first.

The timing of this video is great, as it ties in with what I read from one of the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto:

Secondly, respected internet ‘uncle’ Doc Searls wrote a great post The only real social networks are personal ones in response to my questions of “Should a brand join or build their own social network”. This is a very relevant question to the time, one that I’m getting asked by our clients frequently. Of course I have an answer, but it depends on what they are trying to achieve. Quite frankly, while I understand Doc’s point, (people over brand) getting marketing organizations to relax is difficult and scary, baby steps are needed.

Doc makes the following points:

  • First, I’m not sure a “brand” can get social at all.
  • Second, the notion of “brands” either “building” or “joining” social networks strikes me as inherently promotional in either case, and therefore compromised as a “social” effort.
  • Third, I’m not sure social networks are “built” in any case. Seems to me they’re more organic than structural.
  • Fourth, the thing companies need to do most is stop being all “strategic” about how their people communicate.

  • Chime in: The important questions

    It’s important that we explore this issue on both sides, so if you’re a marketeer (or a vendor) please read Doc’s post and weigh in on the issue:

  • So who really ‘owns’ the community?
  • Who should be leading the charge within a company to do this?
  • Is Doc right? Brands can never be part of communities, only people can?
  • Update: Shel chimes in and thinks I’m getting too close to clients am I sell out? Be sure to read my comment on his post.