By Tania Schramm, Associate for Community Design
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. Social media apps have become ubiquitous. Even if we have a “love-hate” relationship with social media networks, we also might feel like we have to be there. FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” along with wanting to stay in touch with friends, family, and colleagues drives us to log in. In particular, since March 2020, it seems that groups on Facebook have proliferated, each focused on a specific interest, goal, or identity. Perhaps in the time of physical distancing, we long even more to connect with other people with whom we have something in common.
Social media networks do serve a purpose. In theory, you can post something that might be of interest, and through likes, comments, and shares, that post could “go viral” and reach a large number of people through their network of connections. However, many social media apps also use algorithms that curate, to some degree, what any individual user might see. But, there is also a downside – some people might feel emboldened to share opinions that are inaccurate or harmful.
I’m not going to try and convince you to leave Facebook, or any other social media network – you can check out this article for that! But, there are other options to consider.
For entrepreneurs, small businesses, nonprofit group, or even extended families, Mighty Networks offers an alternative to Facebook Groups. Mighty Networks brings people together on a single platform that functions like a hybrid of a social media network, website, and learning management system. It delivers robust and engaging multi-media content (like a website), enables members to engage in conversation and build community (like a social media network), and produces online courses that are easy-to-build and easy-to-use. Mighty Networks contains many features of what we hope for in an online community – content, discussions, collaboration, and connection.
Mighty Networks enables innovators and leaders to create a community where people master something interesting or important together. But, what exactly is community? One definition is rooted in geography, like your local community would be your neighborhood, town, or city. Another definition is about a feeling of fellowship – or connection – with people who have a characteristic in common, or who share common interests, attitudes, or goals.
Using these definitions, the following types of standard communication are not geared towards creating and building community, especially in the digital space. Community is not:
- Posting on social media and hoping for likes, comments, and shares.
- Sending out an email or adding pages to a website, even when the content is informative and engaging or the design is beautiful.
- Sharing links and asking people, “what do you think?”
Mighty Networks includes elements of, but is different from, email, social media, website, and online learning platforms. It is a flexible platform for communication AND creating community AND delivering content by weaving these different pieces together – an integrated website, online courses, memberships, and subscription
Mighty Networks is different from a single event, conference, or workshop – although it has capacity to deliver events and workshops.
Although Mighty Networks does include messaging, chat, and email capability, it isn’t conventional “push” (email) or “pull” (websites) communications, which deliver content in a single direction that people receive and read . . . or not. With a website, there might be an invitation to engage in another way, but without interaction with other people, it’s hard to build community. Community is built when communication is two-way and includes conversation.
Mighty Networks is a great tool for building an online community. It offers the ability to publish articles, share multimedia content, and create an online course platform for your members. But it’s more than a mechanism to deliver content. It’s an online place, a digital space, where people convene – gather together – to share content and learn something, create community and make connections with other people, and experience the kind of transformation that only happens over time and in collaboration with others. All elements – invite people towards engaging with each other, sharing their stories, to learn and grow together. It can create a space for deeper, more intentional, and more robust engagement in community, where we can feel connected to others.
Bradley T Morris, “Mighty Networks vs. Facebook: The Ultimate Showdown,” June 9, 2020.
Mighty Networks home page: https://www.mightynetworks.com/