A few weeks back I was able to attend a couple of different conferences and at each time I was struck by the welcoming groups I was surrounded by. Despite never having met or engaged with many of the attendees, organisers, or presenters in each case, we found reasons to discuss ideas and master new skills and concepts in a safe space through shared experience.
It is this movement towards shared experiences that turn strangers into friends across demographics and time zones. What was most surprising to me was not the differences, but instead the similarities in each conference despite them being from totally polar parts of my life.
A community is something that we all belong to regardless of our level of participation. While some may seek to just read a product review, coach a sport, or to present best practices at a global conference each level of contribution helps to make the community function.
In digital strategy, we often discuss the need to create an engaged and empowered group of consumers, clients, and vendors. Our digital community
In business, we focus on developing best practices inside each discipline so we can share ideas and learn from one another. A community of practitioners
In education, we work within our scholarly groups to develop research and further the knowledge we can contribute back. Our scholarly community
In sports, we work with coaches to grow our skills so that some day we can be just like that talented professional that we have posters of on our wall. A fitness community
Each scenario is unique in its output but is ultimately responsible for the same thing. All versions show a community of like-minded individuals with each segment contributing their knowledge and experiences for the betterment of the wider group.