Dark Matter Matters

Test my theory… when it comes to community, are the words “monetize” and “kill” interchangeable?

Published September 10, 2009 community Leave a Comment
Tags: community, sharing, monetize, dating, mojo, kill
I was reading an article online the other day discussing how to “monetize” community. For those of you who don’t speak marketing, monetize means “to convert into money.”

Hey babe! Wanna monetize this community with me?

Am I the only one who gets a creepy feeling when I see the words monetize and community used closely together?

Bringing up the idea of monetizing stuff at the beginning of a conversation about community is akin to a guy going up to a girl he’s never met and asking her to sleep with him straight out.

Nothing kills community mojo like bad intentions. And when you lead with bad intentions in a community setting, best case people will turn their backs on you, worst case they’ll pour a drink on your head or get their boyfriend to beat you up. Metaphorically speaking.

Look, people, I’m not saying it is wrong to make a living off of good community work. Just like it’s not wrong to date in the hope of finding someone to love you forever. There are just some ways of going about it that are gonna work better than others. And if your own happiness/success is your only goal, you will fail. To be successful in creating community you must take pleasure in sharing something.

So here’s my theory. Next time you hear someone in a meeting use the words “monetize” and “community” closely together (or see someone doing it online), think of me. Try substituting the word “kill” for monetize, and see if it fits. Feel free to post your examples here, send them to me via Twitter, whatever.

Here are a couple of examples I found online to get you started:

Continue reading ‘Test my theory… when it comes to community, are the words “monetize” and “kill” interchangeable?’

Tom Sawyer, whitewashing fences, and building communities online

Published September 9, 2009 community 7 Comments
Tags: brand, catalyst, Chris Brogan, community, fences, GE, humility, mission, online communities, open source, Red Hat, Tom Sawyer, Trust Agents, Wikipedia
I spoke on a panel at GE today with Chris Brogan, author of the book Trust Agents (almost finished with it, more comments in a later post…).

Tom Sayer sez everyone’s fence gets whitewashed today, people!
Tom Sawyer sez everyone’s fence gets whitewashed today, people!
After hearing Chris talk about building trust in online communities, it hit me that one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen people make when trying to build communities online, even in the open source world, is that they think like Tom Sawyer.

Here’s how Wikipedia retells the story of Tom Sawyer and the fence:

After playing hooky from school on Friday and dirtying his clothes in a fight, Tom is made to whitewash the fence as punishment on Saturday. At first, Tom is disappointed by having to forfeit his day off. However, he soon cleverly persuades his friends to trade him small treasures for the privilege of doing his work.

When thinking about building communities online, are you thinking like Tom Sawyer? Why are you building a community in the first place? When it comes right down to it, …