Posts tagged community
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.
Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?
The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.
She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,
Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.
She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.
Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.
Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.
She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.
To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.
And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.
And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,
With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.
Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.
They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.
Not everything is lost.
Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal.” (via awelltraveledwoman)
Really like the idea of traveling with a plant to stay rooted to somewhere. Airport gates can be transient communities too, as there is a shared experience for part of a day in a defined space.
“ Giving, taking, and matching are three fundamental styles of social interaction, but the lines between them aren’t hard and fast. You might find that you shift from one reciprocity style to another as you travel across different work roles and relationships. It wouldn’t be surprising if you act like a taker when negotiating your salary, a giver when mentoring someone with less experience than you, and a matcher when sharing expertise with a colleague. But evidence shows that at work, the vast majority of people develop a primary reciprocity style, which captures how they approach most of the people most of the time. And this primary style can play as much of a role in our success as hard work, talent, and luck.”
One of the program’s more damaging consequences, the report finds, was its effect on freedom of speech. Public talk of politics and foreign affairs, from the mosque to the barber shop (especially discussion involving the tactics of the city’s police department) has now long been and is still seen as an invitation for scrutiny. A father urged his son not to speak with the Associated Press as the investigation was breaking, for fear of backlash. A cafe owner in Bay Ridge stopped tuning his television to Al-Jazeera, in an effort to avoid NYPD scrutiny. (The tactic was duly noted in an NYPD report on Egyptian cafes [PDF].)
Read more. [Images: Reuters, AP]
“SECRET DEMOGRAPHICS UNIT”
Back when I worked at Manhattan Neighborhood Network, I used to get lunch from food trucks parked at a gas station at 59th St and 11th Avenue. Taxi drivers would refuel and take a break to eat lunch or dinner. So many of the drivers were devout Muslims that the station cleared out a large space between the air pump and the sidewalk for drivers to lay down their prayer rugs.
I got to know the guys at the food trucks and some of the drivers really well so I would sit with them on milk crates to eat lunch and talk about soccer or listen to their stories about driving cabs in New York City. Sometimes I’d troubleshoot their computer problems for them or explain bits of the Internet they didn’t understand.
Everybody was really nice and open and friendly and laughed a lot. When the September thing happened, everybody was upset and angry and sad for the same reason. We were all New Yorkers and how dare somebody do something like this to our town.
A couple of months later, unmarked police cars started appearing, parked across the street, watching. By the following Spring the unmarked Impalas seemed a permanent fixture.
Nobody prayed anymore. And nobody sat for lunch. Drivers would bring their food back to their cars and drive off when they were finished.
And that’s when I understood — no matter what the intention — how policies like this not only destroy Freedom of Speech but how they also destroy community.
“ There’s no way to design all things for all people. When you’re dealing with The Masses, it’s best to try to facilitate behavior, rather than to predict it. Design, in this context, becomes more about showing what’s possible than showing what’s there. Imagine your site as a “Game for the Masses” where you don’t make the rules. Leave your members to negotiate and communicate and you’ll get a much richer result.”
I’m compiling an index of useful articles related to community management, editorial strategy, and the like. Partly, this is for my own reference and research. Partly, this is because every conversation I’ve had since leaving Kickstarter has centered around the challenge of creating a tool (or platform) and then figuring out to “control” the unruly masses that decide to use it.
(My argument is always that “control” is the wrong word to use - also, the completely wrong attitude to have.)
Anyway, this piece is now one of my favorites, and will be the jumping off point for my list.
Yes, this is a George classic and great anchor for the list. “Control” as a desired outcome never works, even on algorithms! That word also always means that the creators are fearful of their users and tend to devalue or severely restrict possible behavior mechanisms (so, the opposite of playful) and then they use verbs like “harness,” which is always when I back slowly away. What I find myself saying more and more when managing expectations for the client and the community is: dwell in the realm of the possible.
[….KT note: Condensed because it was getting unwieldy, hope Tumblr can add in some way to expand/condense threads with + signs soon…]
But again, we’re talking about a show that already had a lot of brand equity and goodwill going into today’s announcement. To that end, this bit in Maura Johnston’s similarly worded post is important although I disagree with the sentiment:
4. Focusing on “the positive” in this case means supporting the old methods of bringing culture to market and applying a DIY smokescreen, instead of thinking critically about and actually changing the method by which that happens. If that makes you happy, then, go on with your bad self, but I thought the internet would provide some paths that weren’t so dependent on old models in order to succeed.
I would like to see the Entertainment Industry change but it isn’t going to happen overnight and it isn’t going to happen Just Because The Internet. There is too much money and too much power entrenched in the old way of doing things. All of this Not Change you see happening is that power putting up a really well funded political, legal, and technical fight. Yes, Veronica Mars is a project for an already famous show, but its Kickstarter success still changes the conversation about how TV and film gets made.
But back to fatmanatee’s post: the success of the Marshmallows does nothing for unknown, unconnected creators on Kickstarter unless Kickstarter can get the backers of its high profile projects to discover some of the lesser known but equally intriguing small projects. That sort of thing has to be planned and programmed. It doesn’t just happen through the implementation of a Discover page with a few carousels of local and staff pick recommendations. This happens through building a backer community that celebrates their continued involvement while fostering a culture of discovery.
The good news is that if anybody has a head start on figuring this sort of thing out, it’s Kickstarter.
I just want to echo this part of Kenyatta’s post:
That sort of thing has to be planned and programmed. It doesn’t just happen through the implementation of a Discover page with a few carousels of local and staff pick recommendations. This happens through building a backer community that celebrates their continued involvement while fostering a culture of discovery.
Cassie Marketos was doing just that at Kickstarter for years until recently, so yeah, they do have a head start. I really like the notifications when my friends back projects, but there is so much further they could push right now with the ‘similar to this’ recommendation model when you are on a Kickstarter page and backing something (MAKE ME FILL MY CART! SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! esp since I’m spending future dollars) and, as Kenyatta points to, with surfacing recs for newbie or occasional backers of high-profile projects [“Looks like you’re new here, take a look over here at…”]. Also by emphasizing when a project creator you have supported backs a project - there should be a requirement that a project creator has to have been part of Kickstarter for a few months and backed say, 4 projects. And I say that as a project creator who had an amazing experience running a Kickstarter campaign.
“ We hear a lot about the perils of the Internet for the young. And yet, it does have another function. It is a place where the horizons of self-definition are widely set, where those interesting, fluid moments of identity can be explored. As Green puts it, “I am very proud that Stephen [Beatty] considers himself a nerdfighter, and I hope that nerdfighteria is a place where young trans people feel welcome and safe, because there aren’t enough of those places, online or off.” An in-joke of a name, it turns out, is a signpost of a much-needed port in the storm.”
The news companies can digitize, debate paywall philosophies, even produce amazing digital experiences, but so long as they think of themselves as producing content and not as a community, they fall victim to the declining valuation of the individual article.
The post is about the NYT creating another revenue stream as a dating site, but the point here is still useful - about connecting users in smart, logical ways to each other. If we use that thing Marissa Mayer said a few years ago about “the atomic unit of consumption” and we move that from any individual article (that’s the social object, congrats, we get it already) to an individual article that a user/site member consumes (that’s an object that now has value because it can be social), that framing has possibilities for revenue (every coupling as a microniche group maybe).
“ We’re not making much money, but we’re fine with that. We’ve found something much more valuable: a global community of collaborators who are working hand-in-hand to democratize ocean exploration. The experience is rich in community as well as what Eric and I refer to as “Return on Adventure.”
This piece mentions a lot of things that I think are essential to any productive/creative environment. Summing up one aspect of it, for me: A community functions best when its individual members are empowered by common purpose and where, by the very nature of participation, they are provided a sense of personal agency through consistent feedback (having a tangible effect on their surroundings).
Or: the insides of my brain are showing.
Creativity rarely occurs in a vacuum, if it ever does. On a totally different note, you might say that this is why Kickstarter has been such an effective tool for so many of our creators:
People get encouragement from an audience and feedback from peers, though everyone plays both roles at diﬀerent times. The norm of a passionate aﬃnity group is to be supportive and to oﬀer encouragement when someone produces something. This support and encouragement comes from one’s “audience,” from all the people who have responded to one’s production. Indeed, having an audience, let alone a supportive one, is encouraging to most producers.
Anyhow, it’s wonderful and read it.
Woo, communities of practice. Or, maybe communities of playing, in this case.