As human beings we tend to try and avoid conflict as much as possible as it’s not something that is particularly enjoyable. However for your community to thrive there needs to be a degree of conflict. Let me explain.
Any online community needs a leader. That leader typically comes from the brand that’s hosting or sponsoring the community. If you’re to lead a community successfully you need to do four things well:
- Reflect the core values of your community
- Champion your members
- Engineer this identity
- Deliver on your promises
A core part of reflecting the values of your community is in clearly establishing the in groups and the out groups. For instance Everton supporters hate Liverpool supporters. Republicans don’t get on with Democrats. Apple users detest Microsoft users.
These out groups help to define what it means to be part of the in group. Heck, these even emerge within the same in groups. You’ll get hardcore members that define themselves differently to the more casual kind.
Community is all about these kind of rivalries and conflicts. There have been countless examples of this in action, from the Pepsi challenge to Apple’s PC vs Mac adverts. A group’s unity is strengthened when such conflicts and contrasts are brought to the fore.
Who is your enemy?