4 thoughts on “Communities as Parties

  1. Most Internet communities differ in important ways from their face-to-face or physical namesakes. It is a useful metaphor, though, even if it does come in several rather unrelated versions. The developer-community around many Open Software projects is one example, while the community of WordPress users of the world logging onto their Admin panel and responding to the Dashboard links, is another.

    ‘Party’ means radically different things to different, um, communities. In this case, at “…the Customer Service is the New Marketing Summit”, Matt is plainly speaking to a vertical sector, about business practices & client relationships.

    In terms of posing a product & service category for business clients as a party-community: Real communities are famously enduring. Obdurate and indomitable, often. Not so with parties, which are at best fleeting, rootless versions of communities. But parties can be fun! Typically, that’s the idea.

    Still, from a business’ point of view, an allusion to permanence and transience together … could be tricky.

    Metaphor, simile, analogy, idiom, parable – they’re all very human, very inclusive, good stuff. But by definition, they are thin on definition. They don’t say one thing, exactly. They are subject to interpretation. They can really cut through the fog in a hurry … or a delicate part of one’s anatomy can end up in the wringer.

    Metaphorical tactics can be powerful, but they can be dicey, too. They don’t have much of a guarantee. In this case, my readings of Matt Mullenweg don’t suggest that he’s much of a guarantee-dependent personality.

    Trying to host a good party is not risk-free, but my finger in the breeze says Matt is setting a good course. 😉

  2. Since I’m dealing with delegating communities a lot, I often use the party metaphor in much the same way that you do. I also lay emphasis on the importance of initial conditions to having a good party. You can slack off after the first hour, but you’ve got to be a good host to kick things off.