I’m Getting Tired of “Community”

Posted on January 28, 2008
Filed Under Web 2.0 Kool Aid |

After the Crunchies, Michael Arrington at TechCrunch wrote a post entitled Crunchies Wrap Up - A Big Thank You To The Community. It made me realize one of the things I hate most about Web 2.0: “community.”

At the highest level, Web 2.0 is all about community and I don’t have a problem with that. What I am tired of is the fact that Web 2.0 entrepreneurs and companies have taken the concept of “community” too far. They’ve put it on some sort of sacred pedestal that I believe is nothing more than feel-good marketing BS. Everybody in the world of Web 2.0 loves to talk about the importance of community, how community makes Web 2.0 what it is, etc. and while these things are true, the extent to which entrepreneurs and companies parade their appreciation for their communities has, in my opinion, become little more than meaningless pandering and patronizing. And that’s neither endearing to nor respectful of a valued community.

At the most honest level, I’m sure that many (if not most) Web 2.0 entrepreneurs and companies see “community” as little more than means to an end: money. Yes, it’s nice to hear that Kevin Rose cares about the Digg community, that Mark Zuckerberg respects the Facebook community and that Michael Arrington appreciates the TechCrunch community. Yet it’s hard to forget that none of their companies are philanthropic ventures and for all the success that their communities have brought them, it would be unrealistic to expect that there aren’t times when Kevin, Mark and Michael don’t say to themselves “Fuck the community. Who do these assholes think they are? This is my baby.” And frankly, there’s nothing wrong with this: they wouldn’t be human if they didn’t (although from that perspective, perhaps robotic Mark hasn’t said this).

One of the most disappointing things about the Web 2.0 “community” itself is that its members often use buzz words and phrases so much and in such irrelevant contexts that these words and phrases actually lose their meaning. So my suggestion to Web 2.0 entrepreneurs is this: “community” is your most important word. Treat it as such and cool it on the “community” pandering. You’ve taken it too far and if you take it any further, “community” will lose its meaning.

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3 Responses to “I’m Getting Tired of “Community””

  1. antje wilsch on January 28th, 2008 9:19 pm

    D- just sent you 5 different invites… if you don’t join all of my communities I will be personally offended ;)

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