Recently, I was invited to join the Enterprise Irregulars, a Micro Community of thinkers, bloggers and doers that are focused on the Enterprise world and where it’s going. There are folks that range from blogger Zoli Erdos to SocialText founder and president Ross Mayfield and many other fascinating personalities. I was extremely flattered as I’d been following many of these people for some time.
It’s a great community, and active discussions flourish among them. Collective bargaining is also a possibility, as they work together to do a mass WebEx and interview call with companies they’re interested in understanding better. A lot goes on underneath the surface, not visible to the general public. EI is an invitation-only organization as are many Micro Communities.
Micro Community is the name I’ve just given to small communities created for a special purpose or interest. I’ll bet you belong to several. If you don’t, you’re missing out. They are everything from groups on Social Networks, such as the the Oracle Alumni I belong to on LinkedIn. They may be stand-alone special purpose Social Networks such as you can create with a service like Ning. Ning excels at creating Micro Communities.
Interestingly, the vast majority of Micro Communities are not on such whizzy new technology. Most are hosted on Yahoo Groups with a few on Google Groups. They just basic discussion forums that can feed your email. Their ubiquity and the means of interacting with them is probably another reason why email is not dead yet.
If you’re not part of a Micro Community, you should inventory your interests and go looking for one. If you can’t find one, maybe you should start one. There’s bound to be others looking for kindred spirits too. These days it’s easy. Go the traditional “groups” route or fire up something more recent like Ning.
Given the popularity of services that search or aggregate blogs, I wonder how long it’ll be before we have Micro Community search and aggregation? It’s probably already here and I just haven’t found it.