If you’ve been delving into the online world at all, you’ve probably heard the term “tribes.” For several years, management consultants, social networks, business book authors and others have been using this term to describe groups of people who come together around a cause, a project, a way of thinking, a hobby or an interest. Tribes can exist within organizations or outside of them, but the one thing they have in common is that they want someone to lead them.
One of the more recent additions to this line of thought is Seth Godin’s book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.
Tribes is a slim book you can read in a day, and it’s short on details. Don’t read it thinking it will teach you how to launch a company, use Twitter, win over a community of bloggers or create a street team to spread the word about your product or book. But do read it if you’re confused about social networking and why you should get involved with it.
There are ideas in here that may change the way you think about the internet and what it means to lead within it. Sometimes, changing how we think is more important (and more difficult to master) than making a to-do list. Here are a few nuggets I mined from Tribes that I plan to share with my clients:
- 1,000 true fans are enough to make an impact.
- Recognize people who are doing things right or making contributions; then amplify their efforts. (In other words: identify your biggest supporters and pay attention to them.)
- Exciting ideas spread, but they won’t spread if you don’t sound–or feel–excited about them.
- Don’t focus on making your tribe bigger; make it tighter. Give your fans ways to communicate with one another.
- Assemble a tribe and lead them to where they’re already going. (There’s no need to re-invent the wheel. People already want your idea, book or product. Find them.)