Modern day tribes are comprised of people loosely (or tightly) connected in many (or few) ways. These connections might be coincidental or intentional. What’s critical is that you understand the potential cohesive power behind these connections.
Consider a story told by Clay Shirky in his excellent book – Here Comes Everybody. A woman left her cell phone in a New York City cab. Unfortunately, she lost invaluable wedding planning information stored in the phone. The short version is that a teenage girl found the cell phone and refused to return it. A viral internet movement resulted - creating a very powerful tribe of people – each connected by a desire to see the phone returned to the owner – or perhaps justice. This tribe became powerful enough to influence changes within the New York City Police Department – resulting in the eventual arrest of the teenage girl and ultimately the return of the cell phone.
This story provides a clear lesson for business owners, bloggers and anyone else with an ear to hear. No longer is an individual at the mercy of a large (or small) organization (or single person). When people are able to unite with modern social networking tools – affecting changes of this magnitude over something as simple as a lost/stolen cell phone – imagine the potential of those people to influence your business. Those same people are your tribe of customers and your tribe of employees.
Please pay attention – this is the most critical part. Your tribe of customers is already organizing and meeting in this way using modern social networking tools. This tribal behavior is already being reflected in your bottom line - with even greater potential to affect it in the future. Your business can either profit by this reality or be destroyed by it – it’s your choice. It’s time for you to wake up and begin to understand the power of modern day tribes.