I was reading an article online the other day discussing how to “monetize” community. For those of you who don’t speak marketing, monetize means “to convert into money.”
Am I the only one who gets a creepy feeling when I see the words monetize and community used closely together?
Bringing up the idea of monetizing stuff at the beginning of a conversation about community is akin to a guy going up to a girl he’s never met and asking her to sleep with him straight out.
Nothing kills community mojo like bad intentions. And when you lead with bad intentions in a community setting, best case people will turn their backs on you, worst case they’ll pour a drink on your head or get their boyfriend to beat you up. Metaphorically speaking.
Look, people, I’m not saying it is wrong to make a living off of good community work. Just like it’s not wrong to date in the hope of finding someone to love you forever. There are just some ways of going about it that are gonna work better than others. And if your own happiness/success is your only goal, you will fail. To be successful in creating community you must take pleasure in sharing something.
So here’s my theory. Next time you hear someone in a meeting use the words “monetize” and “community” closely together (or see someone doing it online), think of me. Try substituting the word “kill” for monetize, and see if it fits. Feel free to post your examples here, send them to me via Twitter, whatever.
Here are a couple of examples I found online to get you started:
1. Community websites can be monetized fairly easily. / Community websites can be killed fairly easily.
2. We will show you how to directly monetize community. / We will show you how to directly kill community.
3. Can we monetize a community that provides this level of value? Absolutely! / Can we kill a community that provides this level of value? Absolutely!
Have an example for me where this theory works or doesn’t work? Please share!