I remember being a member of school clubs way back when I was in grade school. Our school dedicated first Fridays of the month for club days. Everyone is required to have at most one major and one minor clubs. When I was in grade six, I was part of the English Club, because well, I was chased out of the Math Club. Grade school politics and all that (who would have thought there would be politics in grade school?). Point is, you’re supposed to pick a club that interests you. Maybe that’s why the Sports Club had a hundred members.
Online communities have a lot of similarities with these school clubs (and also school organizations, hobby clubs, associations, prayer groups, and what have you). People with similar interests, passions, and principles converge to talk and share about their experiences, and of course, to do what they love best.
I myself am a member of several LiveJournal communities. I joined groups that cater to my fanfiction reading and writing needs. I have memberships in different communities who also share my love for different fandoms.
Thing is, it’s fun to be part of communities where I’d get to talk about (read: fangirl) my favorite pairings, what should or what should not have happened on the TV show or anime, different plot ideas, and just to be among other people who also squeal in delight when the show or anime writers happened to drop hints about the desired pairing. What’s even more interesting is that these people come from all over the world. I have come to know and befriend people from the US, Slovenia, and other Filipinos from Cagayan de Oro and Davao. I guess it’s pretty amazing to know that even though I’m talking to different people from different cultures, we are all fangirls (and fanboys) for our favorite pairings.
To quote Sir Barry, what’s the implication for OrCom practice?
Companies and organizations have realized the implications of the internet for their business and organizational processes. In terms of talking to their consumers, companies should take advantage of the formation of these different communities. These groups have their own interests, profiles, and online behaviors. It actually makes it easier for the company to talk to its consumers through these communities, since they already have certain profiles and behaviors. Companies can shape its messages to appeal to these groups. Furthermore, organizations can listen in on groups that are part of their target audience and determine what they want, what they think about, and what they say about you and even your competition. But more than just listening in, organizations can also create communities that welcome conversations and discussions about their products and services. It’s not just about advertising and market research anymore. It’s now about collaboration and co-creation.
But in the meantime, let’s go a bit off tangent and talk about advertising. I looked into Admax.com. Admax’s specialty is leasing out ad spaces on a network of Southeast Asian sites. The sites where they offer ad spaces are more than a hundred in number. Sites include blogs with high readership, sites offering free wallpapers, tutorials, etc, sites with heavy traffic, websites of different media corporations (hello, ANC and the other ABSCBN sites), forums, blogging sites, and many more.
Admax offers its clients classifications of the kind of sites or target audiences that they want to reach. For example, if an airline wants to advertise online, Admax will release the company’s ad on sites that have something to do with traveling, or on those that offer suggestions on different tourist spots, restaurants, or places to visit in this certain place, or on forums where people talk about traveling and places.
Again, the internet has made it easier for companies to advertise to their target groups, since people flock to communities, or if not, go to specific sites which cater to their needs and interests. Advertising online and reaching those specific groups who companies really want to talk to is more effective rather than just going by the shotgun approach.
Then again, it’s important for companies and organizations to realize that the internet is not just another medium for advertising. The World Wide Web is a place where real time conversations can happen between the company and the consumers.