Audience, Community or a Tribe ? And what does Gandhi have to do with it?

by Maya on June 5, 2009

I might have read this post by Chris Brogan about 10 times in the past couple of days. For the article and for the incredibly superior comments!

Please go read it NOW if you have not already done so.

It hit close to home for 2 major reasons –

1. My experience building the Memetales community so far, and what it means for the future of the Memetales Community

2. The strong imagery Chris present in his post. In one of my tweets a long time ago, I talked about my experience of the Memetales community feeling like “sitting down and eating together”.

Here are just some of my thoughts that are merely an extrapolation of Chris Brogan’s post –


An Audience witnesses a performance. An audience comes, watches/listens and goes. You perform.


A community of people gather around a context. They face each other, sit in groups, share conversations and good times. People come and go, but a few key members stay on. As an enabler you “cook, you serve, you sit down and eat” with the others. Some awesome members help you cook too.

A Tribe

A tribe (thanks Seth Godin) is a special kind of community. This is where YOU are no more just an enabler. You are a true leader because you enable a passion – not just a context. I think so, at least. A tribe is a set of people that WANT to be led because YOU take their cause forward. A tribe is a more a realm of energy rather than that of people – where all energies resonate towards one goal. Seth Godin, in this interview, says “My point is that people don’t become leaders because they have charisma; people get charisma because they’re leaders” …

As someone born and brought up in India, the strongest tribe I can think of is the tribe that Mahatma Gandhi created during India’s struggle for freedom from the British. To get a sense of what he did, I have included a trailer to the movie Gandhi here. As a Leader, Gandhi created such a strong tribe, that even a number of the British were pulled into his tribe. Such is the power of a true leader and tribe!

At some points, it is hard to say, if the tribe energizes him or the other way around. But truly, in a tribe, it cannot be one way or the other – it is both ways. AND, it is for a cause that is above everyone.

THAT is what a tribe is. It has cause, passion, charisma and energy – people come together and bring more because they all share ONE story.


So, what do YOU need? An audience, community or a tribe?

YOU decide.

Be realistic and listen – but understand that more and more, people want to be heard. So listen and engage for a bit before you decide which one of the above you need.
Creative Commons License photo credit: raman..exploring myself..

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