✖️ The difference between audience & community
And: Communities as clouds; YC: Founders should "plan for the worst"; neume's mission to index web3 music; predatory communities; Troy Carter's NFT-club
For many organizations, ‘social media’ is often referred to as community (e.g. through the phrase ‘community management’), but in many cases this perceived community behaves more like an audience. Let’s outline the differences.
Audiences have a uni- or bi-directional relationship with their subject. They may exchange messages with brands / artists, or just receive them.
Communities require omni-directional relationships, meaning that there’s lines drawn between the people in the audience, so they can communicate directly with each other and in shared contexts.
Communities will have a sense shared purpose that extends to identity. With audiences this sense is much weaker.
Community & audience is the difference between saying “I’m part of X” or only “I follow X”.
Community indicates a level of participation. Audience places people in more of a consumer-role.
Audience engagement depends on how well the subject (e.g. brand / artist) can hold their attention for example through content strategies. Communities can self-engage by members engaging members directly in shared or private spaces.
Participation in the form of audiences takes the form of submissions and sending things in. Participation in communities often looks more like co-creation. More importantly: it’s hard to meaningfully co-create with an audience that is not a community.
Audience requires low-effort participation. Community members can ‘fade away’ with slight drops in activity.
People can be active in many audiences, but won’t have the bandwidth to be dedicated members of as many communities.
A social media following is not a community, although part of a social media following may be a community if they have some type of shared identity and purpose, plus have a meaningful opportunity to share social context (either virtual or irl) on a regular basis.
Communities can have their own audiences, too… and monetize that relation.
These distinctions are important, because due to the direct relation we have with members of our audiences, we may sometimes consider them a community and to behave like a community, while they actually aren’t, can’t and won’t. That’s a strategic risk.
For those building audiences and fanbases, here are a few questions to consider:
Do communities exist inside my audience? Do they exist due to their relation to the audience’s subject or for other reasons? E.g. inside the audience of X, is there a tight-knit community of fans of X who regularly speak to each other, or is there an audience overlap and is it actually a ‘fans of Y’ community who happen to be part of the X audience too?
What % of my audience considers itself directly connected to my community? What distinguishes them from being merely an audience member?
What purpose does ‘community’ serve? Why would I try to onboard audience members to a community? Communities take a lot of time to build, so you have to get the vision right to make sure you’re not moving in random directions.
From there you can start to develop strategy, frameworks, structures, etc., but it’s important that you get the basics right and that the fallacy of seeing audience as community is remembered and avoided.
☁️ Communities Aren’t Buckets –– They’re Clouds (Joey DeBruin)
“Polywork gives people the freedom to move and fluidly define their identity, and to explore and derisk their next step while keeping at least one foot on solid ground. It’s a natural evolution in the ever-more-competitive talent market, and helping people access and combine the clouds of their lives will be increasingly important for builders to consider.”
👥 Predatory community (Molly White)
“By forming these communities around aspects of peoples’ identities that they hold very dear, it amplifies those ties to the communities that makes them harder to leave, and that make selling assets feel like a betrayal.”
Unfortunately the piece dismisses all of the decentralized, open standard infrastructure being created as a finance-driven speculation that relies on ‘greater fool theory’, but it’s worth listening to White’s arguments on how some of the more toxic aspects in the crypto domain leverage ‘community’ to further their goals.
📉 YC advises founders to ‘plan for the worst’ amid market teardown (Manish Singh)
“If your plan is to raise money in the next 6-12 months, you might be raising at the peak of the downturn. Remember that your chances of success are extremely low even if your company is doing well. We recommend you change your plan.”
“neume is tasked with indexing all activity within the emerging Web3 Music industry. It will provide the infrastructure needed to easily spin up platforms that experiment with showcasing Web3 Music and the endless potential of deeper connections between Artists and Fans.”
🔑 Troy Carter’s Venice is launching an NFT-gated members’ club – offering artist services, studios, and more (Murray Stassen)
“We saw a totally streaming native star come out of [streaming] and we saw new companies built on top of what was happening in streaming. We’re going to see the same thing within the NFT space with music artists. We’re going to see a lot of native artists come out of [the NFT] space and new platforms and business models built around it.”
New release by multidisciplinary duo INVT. LA CHAMBA: 10 tracks exploring the connection between Dembow, Garage, Dub, Minimal, Dubstep, Tribal House & Baile Funk.