Recently had the chance to interview Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired Magazine and the author of FREE and The Long Tail. Chris said something during our interview that has been shaping my thinking recently regarding how we properly steward online community, networks, or groups that we have assembled. He said this:
"The job of everyone online today is Community Management. Less about talking TO people, and more about organizing conversations FOR people."
Now, I'll paraphrase what that means based on what he said: For leaders, it's not about doing things for people, but instead helping them do things for themselves. No longer is it about Talking to people and one-way communication as an expert, but it's now about Organizing Conversations among people. Creating opportunities for our communities to interact, without us being the focus or the only one speaking.
This is such an important lesson for any of us who have been given a network to steward, whether online or offline. The entire paradigm of creating a tribe has been flipped. Seth wrote about this as well, evidenced by his best-selling book, and spoke about it at Catalyst last year.