Running notes from the Picnic07 conference in Amsterdam.
Rather than talking about the business of communities, she asks, are there communities of business? The new technologies of belonging/participating challenge companies to understand how to use them, how to work with this exploding range of tools that allow collaboration.
Why do people join communities or networks? Susan identifies eight main reasons:
- they have shared interests (passion, nanotech, ski, etc -- something that brings you together)
- shared beliefs
- shared location (physical location still maintains high importance)
- shared experience (went to the same university, etc)
- shared profession
- shared language
- shared entreprise
- shared time
Business is a bundle of communities/networks (internal, suppliers, customers and the people with whom you do business, experts, personal). How can businesses leverage communities? How much do they want to engage/work with that particular customer for example? At one end of the scale, "I'm selling you stuff for money", at the other end of the scale, there is engagement/immersion.
She talks about emerging business models for communities:
- translators (people who can take that power and make it available to digital immigrants (PDF) or corporates - ex RedHat)
- enablers (Skype is an enabler; Facebook too; people that enable plaforms)
- exchanges (biggest exchange in the world and the one that hundreds of thousands of people make a living from, is eBay)
- brokers (there are dozens of communities of experts; p2p models like consumer-to-consumer lending Zopa are also brokers)
- hunters: there is a small group of people who creates networks (ex: Tapestry Networks)
- engagers (games like WoW, Habbo, CyWorld, you can include Second Life)
- blenders (there is an ancient industry who people who do marketplaces, exhibitions, trade shows, conferences like TED or Picnic)
- builders (ex: alumni networks for corporates)
What's next: communities and networks will help redefine what the corporation is gonna look like. Is it possible that the community is a business? And for the individuals: how is it gonna change my career and way of working? And on the broader sense, what's the impact on industries? How are communities going to redefine them?