Social Media- Merging On and Offline Activities

I heard about this amazing project in Detroit called Loveland on NPR. You can hear the full story here but here it is in the compressed version.

Jerry Paffendorf bought a relatively useless plot of land in Detroit and then portioned the entire thing up into 10,000LOVELAND - ABOUT square inch plots of land. He sold the plots to people (inchvestors) who wanted to own a piece of Detroit. Technically they don’t “own” anything. They don’t get to vote in Detroit or pay taxes, but still the sense of ownership is real. There’s a Facebook page, a Twitter page, Vimeo channel, Google maps pinpoint plot locations, and the whole thing is quickly turning into an active virtual world where people can interact with “superfunexcitementoffandonlineadventure”…

People from all over the world bought 1-2 or several square inches. One of the biggest investors bought 1,000 squares. All in all he sold 10,000 inches to¬† 588 inchvestors. Some had lived in Detroit or had fond memories of a visit there. Some had family and some just thought it would be a cool thing to own a piece of “Motor City”.

So what’s this got to do with social media? What, I need to hit you with a brick??

Something like this is a perfect example of creating an idea and letting the community run with it. That’s what makes community work. It’s almost never the person who came up with the idea that makes it a success. It’s the community adding their love, their money and their ideas it suddenly becomes something bigger, more interesting and more valuable than the original owner could conceive.

That’s what you need to do with any social community you create. You need to be a catalyst and allow reactions to happen and things to evolve organically. Come up with ideas sure, nurture the relationships, especially with the ones who become passionate about what it is you’re doing.

Then let the community guide where you go with it and what it becomes. The people who can express their passion through your community will pay you and the community back for all you do in ways you simply can’t predict.