The Big Power of Small Communities

by Sharp | October 27, 2011

One of the things that people always return to when talking about social media is the ability for just about anyone to find and connect with people who share similar passions.  It is easy to rattle off broad-reaching categories and interests for which this is true — fashion, food, sports, etc.

But what I find even more interesting is the ability for people with obscure interests or with particular needs to find community and work toward common goals. And some data points to the fact that smaller communities are among the most engaged.

Here are two examples of highly targeted communities going online to do extraordinary things …

E-Patients Seeking Research and Drug Trial Participation

We know that e-patients are growing in numbers and are becoming increasingly savvy.  This is exciting from an information gathering and treatment support standpoint, but some patients are taking it even further.  A group of patients in an Inspire group for their rare disease were able to enroll in a new research program with Mayo Clinic through community action. Real communal action can arise from enough shared passion — and who knows, maybe this type of action could be the source of a major breakthrough in the future.

DaVinci Scholars Fund Mural Restoration Project

Photo courtesy of New York Times

Art Historians are using Kickstarter to fund a mysterious search for could be a hidden DaVinci mural in Florence.  What I love about this story — a passion project at its core — is its almost geeky focus on science, art and history.

And I love the fact that the team is using Kickstarter — a crowd-funding platform — to raise awareness and money build a community of people to support this fairly niche research initiative.

Sometimes it is not about achieving the broadest reach, but about driving the most passion through a select few.  What niche interests can your brand champion?

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