Monday, 13 July 2009

Why the Community Game cannot only be an Online Game?

I have already made my penchant for putting community creation and management at the centre of an organisation thro' my blog post about a year ago, so this post is not about that.This post is to articulate the essentialness (if there is such a word) of a hybrid strategy, where you need a combination of both online and offline activities, combined seamlessly to engage and fulfil the community's needs for it to be successful.

I would like to challenge today's contention that the community game today is a very internet/ online focused experience, with the social networks and the social graphs being the presiding deities over this. Broadly, the guiding principles provided by the likes of Facebook, Orkut, Myspace, Meebo, LiveJournal, FriendFeed and Twitter, have created an alternative to the physical world- the virtual world.

And yet....

The physical world matters, perhaps more than we could imagine- almost all my friends on social networks are folks i met offline first, before we linked up, and even today, where i live, who i meet during my day and what i do has more influence over me than any of my immersive experiences on facebook etc.

However, the physical world is a world of limitations, of time, of space, of long traffic congestions to get to the coffee shops etc- and you do need the online "freedom" from constraints.

Hence my contention- that by design, the community's strength has to be based not only on online interactions, but include face to face, physical world interactions seamlessly built in...