Diagnosing A Community Idea
Virgin America's new social network will fail (like all of these).
Study the idea:
This partnership allows flyers to take advantage of those serendipitous travel moments where people with complementary business interests are in the same place at the same time – even if that place is on a plane somewhere 35,000 feet above the US.
Let's analyze this idea through the conceptualization framework.
Does the community interest fit in the MTER framework?
Is the community based upon something we spend a lot of time or money on, or is emotional/representative of our identity in some way? Some people do spend a lot of time flying, but not by choice. It's not something we choose to spend a lot of time on. You don't feel an especially strong relationship with someone because you're both in the air at the same time. The answer is no, there is no real strong common interest here.
Does this idea target a specific group of people?
By specific, we mean people who share specific demographic, habit, or psychographic traits. Flying could be argued as a habit, but it's a stretch. The answer is no.
Does the community have a clear purpose?
Is it a community of action, circumstance, location, place, or practice? You could argue it's a community of place. Again, not a place that people feel an especially strong connection to. The purpose is very weak.
Is it clear what will happen in the community?
Aside from 'making connections', there is no clear plan of activities of what will happen within this community. There are no existing habits being brought in to the community. There is no clear evidence that members want to spend their time during flights being connected to other people.
By every account, this is a community concept that's doomed to fail. The concept is one which hasn't been properly evaluated. It's similar to many of these failures.
You can use a simple framework to guide and diagnose your community.
If you want to learn more, sign up to the Virtual Community Summit in London from Feb 20 – 21.
This is the first event dedicated to mastering the psychology you can use to increase growth, activity, and the value of any community. Learn more, click here.