Fan pages can be a great promotional tool. They can increase loyalty and deepen engagement with fans. But they’re terrible at building relationships between fans. Fan pages encourage their audience to interact them, not with each other. Even those that can encourage their fans to interact with each other, struggle to develop these conversations into relationships.
Wired: You’ve said that a tribe doesn’t have to be encouraged to connect, they want to connect with each other. And that you as the person in the center aren’t required to do anything.
Seth Godin : That part’s not true. It requires you to do a great deal. But what you don’t need to do is sell people on the fact that they want to connect. That’s human nature. We want to connect with like-minded people. What you have to do that’s very difficult is create the platform –- whether it’s a cocktail party or a technology -– where people can get over social friction, where people can make connections that would ordinarily feel awkward. So why does TED as a conference work? It works because after traveling all that way and paying all that money, it’s expected that you will join the TED tribe. Whereas if the TED conference didn’t exist and you just called people on the list and said why don’t 20 of us get together for coffee, that would be a weird phone call to make…. That’s part of what it means to make a movement – do something difficult to overcome the social friction.
Wired: So it’s all about sensing a need and filling the need and encouraging the connection.
Seth Godin: The need is always there -– the need to connect, to matter. I think the need comes and then the issue comes, not the other way around…. And what leaders do, whether they’re leading a small Christian evangelical community or trying to organize India to overthrow British imperialism … is they find a particular subset of people who also share a goal … and bring in the right people to support it. If it hadn’t been Al Gore, it could have been William F.Buckley who had led the fight against global warming and it could have been completely filled with people from the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal…. It just happened that the leader who stood up and did it had a natural constituency, a constituency that was looking for the cause and the connection and the movement, and he was the man to do it…. My point is that people don’t become leaders because they have charisma; people get charisma because they’re leaders.
(Update 20 Feb : Your Twitter Followers aren’t a community).