Audiences receive messages, whether at your Town Hall meeting or your keynote speech. Communities use what they have ‘in common’ to join forces, collaborate, help each other or making things happen. But communities are not a team structure either, with lead, members, milestones and deliverables.
All these structures are legitimate. You can have whatever you like but don’t mix them up. You don’t create a community by bombarding the members with top down information. You don’t create a good team by saying ‘this is just a like a family’. You don’t call the audience ‘this big team’ is they are not.
In many organizations, the team is the structural unit of collaboration. We have created huge teamocracies and, in the process, forgotten that there are other collaborative structures such as communities and internal social networks.
Yammer users are not just a community by the fact that there are many of them. The ‘common’ needs to be translated into collective action. Facebook friends may not be friends, and your friends may not be in Facebook. Linkedin followers are just a click away, and they are not necessarily your ‘community’
Organizations create lots of audiences and then they label them with a more elevated label.
Not all that looks like working together is collaboration.
If you watch out for the language, and take a critical view of the labels, you’ll be doing well in the path of efficiency and effectiveness. There is nothing worse than wrong expectations.
An audience is not a community. A community is not a team. A team is not an audience. Keep going …until what you mean and what is called really meet.