Community. It seems to have been the talk of the town for a few years now. And as of late, the “talent community” talk has quite a few excited but still others baffled that this concept could even subsist, let alone – money be made from it. For those of us who have worked hard to build our own databases – NOT thought of as communities – it seems silly to consider a “quick money” utilization of the virtual handshake. Oh sure, I am the first to advocate always getting something for yourself. But should this be any different than what we have always done? When I was a PTA President, I hung out with other concerned moms. When I was very active in theater, I lingered backstage. When I participated in a church, I spent the majority of my free time with others in that congregation. We have always created our own communities, just not with dollar signs attached. So, I guess my individual principles and ideals are challenged by this fairly new idea of a business: talent community. And in this challenge, I will either learn or I will teach.
Some may disagree with me. There are those who will say that all should be wonderful and perfect in the sandbox. That all the toys should be shared and that no one should go home unhappy. Part of what makes a community tick and thrive is the differences that each of us brings to the table. Not everyone gets a trophy. Like cogs that work together to keep the machinery running, differences of opinion and challenging ideas are what drive innovation and changes of thought.
What a boring world it would be if each of us had the exact same principles and beliefs. If there weren’t arguments or issues that sometimes stand in the way, what kind of progress would we truly see? None. We would continue on, doing the same things, thinking the same thoughts, with no desire to learn more, for why should we?
The reasons we participate in a community are threefold. We simply want to be a part of it all – to keep the heartbeat going. We want to be heard – to share our ideas and thoughts, to teach. And we want to listen – to learn – to take away something from a discussion anything that makes our life or job easier or helps us to do it better. Sometimes we give, and sometimes we take. And that’s ok. Problems arise when it is forgotten that conflict is good for a community. Sparks are needed to start an engine and keep it going. Static status, never changing, never learning – all lead to stunted growth. There is much to learn here, there is much to share. We each provide a different viewpoint, a different spark.
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So, with this in mind, are those reasons considered and met by all who participate in talent communities? Who gains the most from a talent community? It really is just a pond where only a few fish get fed. And such ponds do not exist for long. We don’t need to rethink and rename community, we just need to face reality. It’s a database. It’s a rolodex. It’s a list of names or organizations to draw from and meet your needs. And occasionally, those names’ and organizations’ needs are met, as well.
Rayanne Thorn, @ray_anne is the Marketing Director for the online recruiting software company, Broadbean Technology. She is also a proud mother of four residing in Laguna Beach, California, and a contributor for Blogging4Jobs. Connect with her on LinkedIn.