Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Find your dancers, and give them the stage

Thanks to Matt for linking to this video from the 2009 Sasquatch Music Festival, which I am about the last person on the interwebs to see, I think.

Thoughts I had as I watched this video and how it could apply to your community-building efforts:

1 - The guy dancing by himself would have danced all day by himself, if he had to. He was just having fun, and probably enjoyed the idea that everyone was staring at him.

2 - The SECOND guy is what starts the movement toward everyone dancing. Without the first guy standing up and dancing by himself, the second guy probably never moves.

3 - When the third guy joins in, suddenly everyone else realizes that everything has changed. A minute ago, it was 'who is that idiot dancing by himself?' Now that the third person has joined in, suddenly everyone is wanting to join in. Either because they want to be a part of this group that's being created before their eyes, or because they realize that if they DON'T join in, they are going to become 'that idiot that's sitting down by himself while everyone else dances'.

4 - Reality changed in a matter of seconds. It went from being 'cool' to sit down and enjoy the show, to being 'cool' to stand up and dance with strangers.

5 - Passion is infectious.

So what does this mean for your community-building efforts?

1 - Give the stage to that first guy. It could be the guy that wants to dance by himself, or it could be the guy that wants to spend 4 hours a night answering questions on your forum and solving customer issues. But make sure that first guy has room to dance, because that's what he wants to do.

2 - Once the first person is taking the action you want, as quickly as possible, find a way to encourage the second and third guy/gal to join in. This is key as it gets everyone else's attention, and it makes it much easier for everyone else to feel comfortable participating.

3 - Let your members/users/readers understand that they are creating a shared experience. Notice this video went from 3 guys dancing to 100 in a matter of seconds. Everyone knew that something special was happening, and that they had a chance to be a part of it. That they had a chance to be a part of something bigger than themselves. That's very rare and powerfully enticing to people. So you want to make it as easy as possible for the people sitting down to want to get up and start contributing to your community, to start dancing.

BTW one last thought; by the end of the video was the 'event' still the concert itself for the audience, or how they were dancing together?

What did you see when you watched this?

PS: Verdino has already tried to hijack the comments with shameless self-promotion, so I figured I'd make it easier for everyone to see his kick-ass post on this same video.

PPS: And literally while I was editing the post to include a link to Verdino's post, Spike leaves a comment with a link to HIS post on the video. Anyone else? ;)


Greg Verdino said...

Good stuff, Mack. I wrote a similar post last week - yup, I'm link bombing you but I swear it's relevant. :-)


Spike Jones said...

Nice take, Mack. We also posted on this back in early June: "In Movements, One is the Magic Number"


Tom Martin said...

Nice post Mack...one additional point, once the first guy danced, it gave all the others in the audience who wanted to dance 'permission' to dance.

Sometimes our communities just need permission... sort of like the first person to ask a question after a speaker talks starts an avalanche of questions...

Unknown said...

Totally agree with Tom. I think 'giving the okay' by example to behave transparently and insert personality into your interactions with others is a key in igniting passion.

Thanks Mack!

Stuart Foster said...

Nice Post Mack.

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Jess Sloss said...

Oh there are more!

Matt Corker's take on it - Be Unstoppable - http://thatsacorker.ca/Blog.html

and of Course Seth's Godin - Guy # 3 - http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/06/guy-3.html


Mack Collier said...

Ari I didn't read Seth's post, but based on what you said here, it sounds like he agrees with me. Notice I said in the post that the first guy was going to dance anyway, he didn't need anyone's permission or invitation. But the second and especially the third guy joining in is what opened the floodgates. The second guy joining in prompted the third guy to join, and when he did, suddenly they had a GROUP, which was what gave everyone else the incentive to be a PART of that group.

If the first guy has started something that you want to get behind, then you need to as quickly as possible give the 2nd and 3rd person the incentive to join in. Then it goes from being cool to stare at 'that one idiot' to joining in with the three guys, otherwise you are 'the only idiot that's sitting down'. Notice by the end of the video there is a small group that never gets up. One guy has a red shirt on and green hat. He never moves, but by the end of the video people are literally running over him to get to the group. He's the 'uncool' guy by the end of the video.

Jamie Favreau said...

This is a great demonstration on being a leader of a tribe.

Though, the first guy had to dance for everyone to come over there and dance too! He might have been an idiot who was dancing but at the same time... if he wasn't there the movement might not have started.

He might not have been as "cool" as the third guy. But if the guy hadn't been dancing to begin with no one would have been over there.

Jamie Lee said...

Looks like "everyone's" been talking about this, but I discovered it on your blog, so here's where my comment lands. :)

Love the video and the way you've woven a story around the takeaway companies should get from watching this dance evolve from a freak show to a popular movement.

I have to admit, though, savvy and sometimes cynical markter that I am, something in this video made me a little "verklempt." Although I think that social media has made and will continue to make a huge impact on how companies and brands engage customers, there's something bigger here, too.

Watching those folks shed their inhibitions and have some FUN ... all because one brave (or perhaps just free-spirited) invididual stood up and got the party started ... it somehow gives you hope that each of us can get more out of life by finding the tribe that makes us get up and dance.

The world is getting smaller, but I hope that our hearts and minds are getting bigger. Social media tools are here to help us share our ideas and passions - be they business oriented or otherwise. Amazing times.