Friday, June 4, 2010

Hanging Out With the Tribe

I learned about this book during a series of lectures on Social Media last year.

Seth Godin is a marketer, and he has something important to say. About tribes. Think about it. How many tribes do you belong to? What do your tribal leaders say or do that makes you want to follow? We have been doing this from the beginning of mankind.

This book makes you think OUTSIDE THE BOX in regards to tribes, or communities of people. Many equate social media with creating communities - or tribes. That is partly true. The Internet is a tool which helps you to connect. But to create a tribe - you still need people. People are still important in building relationships.

Godin writes about different types of people and how they play various roles in tribes. They are three types that made an impression on me, the heretic, the fundamentalist and the curious.

HERETIC: "The ones who challenge the status quo, who get out in front of their tribes, who create movements...heretics, troublemakers and change agents aren't merely thorns in our side - they are the keys to our success." (p. 11) Think about William Tyndale, during the 16th century. He was considered a heretic, because he believed that the bible should be for every man. He was burned for his beliefs. To those with religious power, he was a troublemaker, and he created movements such as the Protestant reformation.

FUNDAMENTALIST: "A person who considers whether a fact is acceptable to his religion before he explores it." But really, "...fundamentalism has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with an outlook..." (p.63-64) You may know people like this. They decide that this (whatever it may be) is the way it should be and use it to anchor their lives. 'Once a catholic, always a catholic' was what a friend would tell me. Personally I thought that was just dumb - because he accepted this religion without knowing for himself. Additionally, I believe that there are many people who live by routines, there is no variety in their lives, and when life hits them broadside, they can't cope. A lot of issues pop up. I feel sorry for these individuals.

CURIOUS: "...a curious person who explores first and then considers whether or not he wants to accept the ramifications...[they] embrace the tension between his religion and something new, wrestles with it and through it, and then decides whether to embrace the new idea or reject it." (p. 63) Godin further describes a curios person who has the desire to understand and try new things - they want to explore and push the envelope to see what is going to happen next. I chuckled when I read how going to school is punishment to the curious! But two points were significant:

• "...the safest thing you can do feels risky and the riskiest thing you can do is play it safe." (p. 64)

• "Once recognized, the quiet yet persistent voice of curiosity doesn't go away. Ever." (p. 64)

So I ask you - what do you consider yourself?

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