The community creator economy is a subsection of the creator economy that specifically focuses on those who are leveraging their networks, communities or their fandom in order to generate value. What first got its start through early YouTube, gaming or related Internet culture communities, we've now seen the types of creators evolve and behaviours spread out across other types of communities.
What differentiates the community creator?
- Great at building community, and converting their audience into a community.
- Focused on decentralization — how can they stay connected with their members across a variety of different platforms.
- Value is generated by the community — members know one another and share similar interests, traits or behaviors.
- Rituals, habits and traditions are largely carried out across the community.
- Oftentimes, the community parallels fandoms or fan-like behavior
- Embraces participatory culture for the benefit of the greater good. (Jenkins, et al. 2009)
Community Creators leverage their community gaps to build relationships that previously may not have been possible.
One of the first examples that really stood out to me — is Kanye Dating. While this may not have started as a community creator bit — it's grown because the creator, Harry Dry, leaned into the same tactics we all do to build community.
He tapped into something that many could relate too — Kanye West and his fans and stans, and leaned into it in full force — embracing the natural creator culture that later evolved. Through conversations and community culture — Dry fostered connection and a mutual understanding that later drove growth.
Companies splash thousands on “growth hacking” goon squads but having one mind like Bart Simpson on your team is more valuable.
Now — I'm not encouraging every marketing team to go out and hire another Bart Simpson (please, god no), what I'm encouraging is that teams should know what makes them, them, and channel that. (in the world of marketing speak — that's your unique selling proposition)
We all just want to be heard — community creators facilitate belonging among their members.
At the end of the day — no matter WHO you are, most humans have the same emotional pull — we want to be heard, valued and loved.
Here's where the power of community comes in — community gives folks the space to be heard, valued, and dare I say geek out on together on a variety of topics. The cool thing? This can be a powerful tool towards bringing people together that you may not catch in the same space. Clay Shirky in his book, Cognitive Surplus, chats abut how Josh Groban attracts fans from grandmothers to teenage girls — all relating to the same goal.
Bringing together folks with different backgrounds and experience, building diverse communities, is essential towards building a better future. Later on in his book, Shirky also mentions the impact that your community can have on learning:
Knowledge, unlike information, is a human characteristic; there can be information that no one knows, but there can't be knowledge that no one knows. A particular bit of knowledge lives only in the minds capable of understanding it. The community of those who understands 'happy birthday' is much larger than the community that can understand Sanskrit poetry.
I've often said I'm bullish on community because of how it brings people together, to go somewhere, or accomplish something. It makes sure that folks are taking time to not only discover something for one another - but also practice empathy for your fellow humans.