We are surrounded by many people, some of whom we are connected to through strong social ties, that we call a community.
We belong to many different communities, some of which overlap.
Some communities are visible to both us and the organisation that we work for, whilst others are hidden, deep in our social networks, out of sight of the organisation, although still very relevant and connected to us individually in our day-to-day.
Some of the communities that we are connected to take us beyond our 1st° connections: we are connected to people, who are connected to people, who are connected to people. If we have high social authority, these can be meaningful connections.
So far, I’ve illustrated communities where we have a direct personal connection, but facilitated by social collaborative technologies, some of our communities are remote, fragmented, crossing borders and boundaries.
Social leaders gain their authority contextually, and consensually from their community. Only part of their community will be within the formal organisation, much falls outside it. And it is our communities that will be with us throughout our lives, not necessarily our relationship with the formal organisation.