The chances are, it’s not Ghostbusters. Where do we turn when we have a question? Into our communities. Questions i’ve seen in the last few weeks include:
Alex, who took a photo of a mushroom, shared it on Facebook to the Mushroom Society (yes, there is one), asking if it was toxic or ok to eat. Answer: toxic.
Jules, a friend who makes musical installations, asked if anyone could think of ways to make harmonic sounds with running water: answers included hydrophones, steam, pressure and paddles.
Graham asked what ‘talent’ means to your or your business.
Martin asked if anyone wanted to go to the gig he was playing at and Paul asked if anyone wanted a spare cinema ticket.
I asked if someone could help me with flight bookings.
Different questions: different communities. Different outcomes. But a commonality of approach. We turn to our communities to make sense of things, to find things out, for support, challenge, inspiration and explanation. Sometimes we listen, sometimes we help out, sometimes we draw down against the goodwill of the community, sometimes we pay back.
We have to figure out where our communities are, what stance they take, who owns them, how they are moderated, how they are influenced (and who they influence), what authority or permission we have within them, what is the etiquette for engagement and sharing, who else is in there, who else should be in there, who is listening in, who do we trust, what reward do we want, what reward do you want. Am i going to look stupid if i ask this? Am i going to make someone else look stupid if i ask this? Will i get in trouble? Will i look good? Can i make you look good? And that’s just for starters.