Metaphors for Community? I'm getting hungry

(Katie Paffhouse Bussey) #1

Hopefully a Friday appropriate thread…

My team’s debating how familiar people are with online communities. I believe people innately understand communities and may not realize they are part of it or just how familiar they are with them. So - enter my hopes of finding a nice metaphor to use when discussing what we are building.

I’ve come up with a few ideas (below) and a few are rotten, any ideas or examples of metaphors you have used?

Fav so far - Coloring Book & Crayons
Everyone knows what this is, the users are crayons who work together

Second - sandwich (hence the getting hungry)
There are central pieces that create the structure (e.g., bread is the site) but what goes into it is what makes it great and many difference combinations work.

These ones don’t seem appropriate for my audience but may work in some

Puzzle - too structured
Car - too structured
Book - too scripted
Church - too political and not universal enough
School - may trigger negative memories…

What do you all think?

(rhogroupee) #2

I like to use the idea of a barnraising, or a farm/community garden. In both cases, everyone is working toward a common goal, and you need cooperation over the long term.

(Sarah Hawk) #3

Yeah, I like that idea. The most ‘community’ I’ve ever felt outside of an online experience is during ‘working bees’ (is that a NZ term?) or when people come together to help with a harvest.

(Mark Baldwin) #4

Any team based sports would work as the team works together to accomplish goals, incorporating different skills/positions but all as important as each other, but also works under a management structure and the output is visible to other people.

The human body is made up of many different parts, all with different functions and responsibilities. Even the smallest, seemingly insignificant parts of the human body have vital jobs to do and the body functions best when all parts are working harmoniously together.

(Priscilla McClay) #5

I really like the colouring book one. I think what I like about it is that many of the other metaphors are something where there is a pre-defined goal, and often people take on pre-defined roles. With the colouring book, although you have an outline, you don’t know what the final picture will look like - it depends on a particular selection of colours (people), coming together in a particular combination.

(Gear Buzz) #6

A growing crop. My team and I are like farmers nurturing it and helping it grow. We also carry shotguns and don’t hesitate to shoot at destructive critters or raiding poachers trying to steal stuff.

Crops - the community
Farmers - admin / mods
Critters - rogue community members
Poachers - rival forums / subscription websites

I am rather attached to this analogy (is it a metaphor?)

The crops provide sustenance. They generate income for the admin & moderators and the community often finds business via participation - (cross pollenisation)
The whole niche industry has been helped by the community, it’s is a definite part of its eco system.

We really do have raids by poachers. There are a lot of commecial entities that would love to take our traffic and leave us with an empty field. We fight these off all the time.

I suppose Facebook is akin to global warming, always there, and inescapable, increasing negative impact on the crops that simply has to be endured or “weathered”.

(Katie Paffhouse Bussey) #7

You all are fantastic (and I LOL’ed @Gear_Buzz with the poacher piece.) One final slightly inept metaphor/analogy -

A movie

Actors - ambassadors
Director - community leader
Production - marketing and WOM
Audience - lurkers