When you look at this site you see what fans are made of. You read stories about how they became fans…how they experience the Colts, and you see there families and their pets and their friends. You get a little window into their lives. Sure, some of the stuff you see is off the wall and even a little sophomoric. But many folks in our community are doing what I hoped they would do. They are CONNECTING with other people and forming new friendships.
It is these friendships that makes the Colts experience more fun. It is these friendships that will cause more and more folks to become connected and make Colts games into rituals, habits that will be hard to break. It’s these friendships that make Sundays the best day of the week. It is these friendships that will help them in other areas of life as well and on other days of the week.
It’s all about community. That’s where the value is for the FANS.
Sites that place an emphasis on attempting to monetize its community are almost always doomed to fail, because they have put THEIR best interests above that of the community they want to create or grow. Look at how MySpace is slowing down. Think the massive amounts of advertising now on the site, and how MySpace is spending more and more effort attempting to dictate the actions of its users (only use widgets from companies that are paying us), has anything to do with that? Contrast that with how Threadless continues to put the community above all else, and still shows no signs of slowing down.
The best online communities are the ones that let users easily connect, as well as create, exchange, and share relevant content. Communities form when users have a sense of ownership in something larger than themselves. Communities do not form around the idea of being monetized.
Pat closes with an interesting question: "Now, how can we get sponsors to invest their TIME as well as their money to engage with our community?"
Tags:The Viral Garden, Marketing