communities of purposeWith social media so often in the news it's common for people to get bogged down with wanting to have a Facebook page or a Twitter feed.  Such thinking is no doubt influenced by the huge numbers of followers or fans some people manage to acquire and the huge pound signs that loom large in the minds of people as they dream of what to do with such a following.

Alas for most it is a case of putting the cart before the horse, for often very little thought is given to what it is they will be offering to users.  What is the point of the community they wish to build?  What will people do when they get there?  What common purpose will draw them together with other community members?

Of course some communities manage to thrive without such thoughts but they are very much in the minority.  It's a crucial step however.  Metcalfe's Law suggests that networks grow in value exponentially with each new member added to it, but with networks of people that value is only as strong as the ties that bind them together.  And the biggest bond will be the shared purpose.

So don't try and shortcut this process for it will be the key to the success of your community.  You don't need lots of reasons for members to join, indeed often the more you have the more complex things become and the harder it is to cultivate, but you need one good, solid purpose to your community for it to flourish.

What is the purpose of your community?