Winning Over Hearts And Minds
Community professionals should read The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. This is the key message:
You’re an outsider. But don’t think of insiders as one entity. They are thousands of smaller groups that seem generically connected. The deeper you go to understand them, the more successful your work will be. You can’t deal with them in a broad strategy. If you push, they’ll push back.
Your community work begins by finding people you want to talk to. You might find a group that share pictures on Flickr. Another that run Facebook fan pages, another who blog and dozens more scattered across various internet mediums.
They picked that medium for a reason. Going to your central community site isn’t in their best interest, it’s in yours. Resist the temptation to bring internet groups in to one place. That’s the efficient, old-marketing, side of you speaking.
Add your own flickr pictures to their group. Become a fan and talk to other fans of that page. Start your own blog. Participate with each group on their terms.
Learn what makes them a unique group. Use your resources to help/thrill them. One group at a time, win them over.