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Is Social Media Making Us More Tribal?

June 10, 2010

In recent months I have noticed that I have been invited with increasing frequency to  join different tribes from the UK to the USA and Australia. I haven’t had to attend initiation ceremonies, shave my head or tatoo my torso. Is Social Media Making Us Tribal?

These tribes are not local or indigenous but global and the shared theme is not indigenous but of common interests, shared goals, aspirations and passions that span countries and continents.

If you lived in the village and enjoyed ‘Dragon boat racing’ but no one else shared your calling, you had to grab a pony and start your quest to find other dragon boat racers that shared your passion.

Paddling a boat on your own is much slower than a group of rowers and also not as much fun, so finding a tribe to paddle with is much more fun and you achieve so much more.

On Twitter, people that share your passion will retweet your content and pass your message along that engages the power of the tribe. People also create lists on Twitter that are a snapshot of the different tribes that they are monitoring, sharing and engaging with.  We don’t belong to just one tribe but many.

The effectiveness of your marketing is dependent on your ability to engage and empower tribes of individuals connected by a common interest. This is not an easy thing and the challenge is how to facilitate that as the global social networks and platforms continue to evolve. The emerging global social networks are connecting and empowering us in many ways that we have never experienced before and we are grappling with how best to share and cooperate.

A presentation by Mike Arauz ‘Design for Networks” hints at some frameworks and foundational elements for engaging and empowering tribes for the individual and common good.

His takeaways

1. Most experiences now take place in the context of a network of connected people

2. Understand the values, behaviours and shared vision of the people you want to connect with

3. Look for ways to share, cooperate and organize collective action

This emerging tribal and social activity is changing behaviour and facilitating tribal activity that is changing the way we work, market and mix with our fellow human beings.

The challenge is finding ways that work for the group and the individual.

So how are you engaging wth your tribes?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2010 11:16 pm

    Great article. I think the concept of tribes has always been embedded in us since our ancestors started coming together to form communities. We have this innate ability to follow and join others with similar interests. Using social media has allowed our tribes to expand from local to global and & makes it easier to move from one tribe to the next & still interact with both.

  2. June 14, 2010 10:01 pm

    Personally, I find tribes helpful, especially since I have so many interests that are very different. People are social creatures and tend to assimilate with groups that have similar interests. I think we are just simply evolving and as we do so are using the SM tools to continue to advance. However, your article does do a great job of reminding us of this. Thanks for the post!

  3. July 6, 2010 9:50 am

    This is 100% the way forward, especially for someone like me-an independent artist. It”s not a new concept, but one that can be easily maintained and built via social networks-Facebook, twitter, etc.
    Other forms have always existed. Drums beating, smoke signals, telephone………now we have a better way to quickly get the tribe moving.
    I love it.

  4. Cathyby permalink
    July 6, 2010 1:14 pm

    Simply joining a tribe doesn’t mean you’ll agree on everything. I’ve found that once the conversation moves outside the area of common interest, I disagree on other matters (politics especially). I find that more on twitter than irl where people share similar backgrounds, incomes and personal circumstances. And where people discuss intelligently I’m glad of it,


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