Community is for Suckers

Building a community takes time, effort, a cause, and a little bit of crazy.  As human beings, we are forever social animals.  The concept of community is a foundation piece of social and cultural anthropology which aims to study and understand how cultural norms and relationships shape a person or a group’s social behavior.  Whether in person or virtual communities online, communities can benefit us in interesting, valuable, and unusual ways.

Communities provide a sense of purpose and a single common characteristic or interest that can bring people together personally or professionally.  Communities are for suckers.

Social media and the rise of technologies like the iPad and smartphones have given rise to an increased sense of communities.  Everyone is building and begging for your attention.  Whether it’s a brand, blogger, cause or business, communities can suck your soul.  They demand your attention.  Request your involvement and solicit your donation whether its money or time.

And I’m nearly tapped out.

Community is for Suckers

These suckers are the foundation of what your community is built upon.  Suckers are people who draw you in.  Spread the word about your cause, family, and platform.  Don’t confuse suckers with suckers.  These individuals are critical influencers to your success possessing a form of human magnetism.  They are critical evolution of your community growth because suckers speak and people listen.  Brands online have begun engaging these social suckers in the race to build their brand communities and empires using influencers, bloggers who have the reach, platform, and resonance to shake things up and amplify your community’s voice and reach.

Communities are not machines.  They cannot be bought.  They grow, evolve, and flourish in environments either in person or online that grow their relationships purely and organically with a cultural, human and natural foundation.  Because we are increasingly pressed for time, communities and relationships are in competition for our affections.  And that’s why its more important than ever for community leaders to make sure that their communities stand out from the rest.  Touch the soul.  Resonate their message both quickly and efficiently.  Because if they don’t, our potential community members are on to the next.

Communities are a part of our social values and social systems.  As human beings, we crave a sense of community, a sense of belonging to help define who we are.  With the rise of technology, we are now exposed to an ever growing number of causes, clubs, organizations, and associations all vying for our attention.  Your suckers need to feel valued and involved as both an individual and a member of your community.  Because these suckers are critical to the success of your group, association, or affiliation.  Without them, the message is just a message.  They suck people into because of their human magnetism and influence by being just who they are.

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions


  1. AvatarJennifer Brogee says

    A very thought provoking way of approaching community! So true that communities are meaningless unless good relationships are built with them. And yes, we can have a “relationship” with a virtual community – we just don’t know it’s a relationship. Enjoyed participating in the blog duel with you!


  1. […] Community. It seems to have been the talk of town for quite a few years now.  And as of late, the “talent community” talk has quite of few excited but still others baffled that a concept could even subsist, let alone – money to 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 was active in a church, I spent 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 talent community.  And in this challenge, I will either learn or I will teach. […]