Recently, I invited Gina Bianchini, founder and CEO of Mighty Networks, to be my guest on #linkedinlive to talk about the role of community in the Membership Economy. We had a far reaching conversation that touched on the role of neighborhood communities, debated the value of a community around Diet Coke and how to handle social media bullies.
You can watch the video above, or read the transcript below.
I wanted to share it with you. I have never posted a video transcript in this series before, and I wonder what you think. I’m also curious about where you agree–and disagree–with Gina and me!
Robbie Baxter [00:01:33] Gina, how are you?
Gina Bianchini [00:01:34] I am great. I’m trying to figure out.
Robbie Baxter [00:01:36] So nice to see you. We are live
Gina Bianchini [00:01:41] Well, I love the fact that we’re live, but I also. I gotta I got to say that my my stage here could use a little bit help. It is so awesome to be live.
Gina Bianchini [00:01:54] Thank you for having me.
Robbie Baxter [00:01:56] Yeah. Yeah. Thank you for coming.
Robbie Baxter [00:02:00] Let me do a little bit of housekeeping and then we can get into all the like a hundred things that I want to ask you about. It’s deliberately not, you know, ask these questions because I want to know. I wanted to feel real. So. Okay. Welcome, everybody. As you join, please comment and let us know where you’re where you’re tuning in from. And if you have any particular questions for Gina or for me today, please post your comments throughout the talk. We can see them. Both of us can see them. So keep a question or a comment. Or if you want to use the little clapping hands or the thinking hand face, please feel free. It makes it much more fun for all of us if people are engaged. And for those of you who are not, if you’re listening live, tag your friends and colleagues if you want them to listen to. And if you’re listening to this on recording, that’s great. Also, please feel free to still put your comments and questions in. And I’ll make sure to circle back with Gina and and try to get her feedback on those questions as well after the fact. You probably know this, but today we are talking about community and we are really lucky because we have, you know, one of the leading experts in the entire world on how to launch and build and nurture meaningful community. Gina Bianchini, founder of Mighty Networks, who is dedicated to ushering in a new era of creative business built on community. We’re gonna be talking about community. You are going to talk about content, online courses and, of course, subscriptions. And I’m also going to ask Gina to talk a little bit about what it’s like to be a serial entrepreneur. She also co-founded Ning and grew that to over 100 million users and three hundred thousand active social networks. OK. So welcome, Gina.
Gina Bianchini [00:04:02] Thank you for having me. I will always say yes to anything you do because you are so insightful and have taught me so much. I think just now, just a plug. Like the Forever Transaction is a fantastic book. And, you know, I think what you have have done and how you’ve thought about it. It was super thought-provoking for me, especially around the whole notion of like for a really long time people. And and what that looks like. And it was just it was super rad. And I’ve already told you that. But I just wanted to say again, oh, thank you.
Robbie Baxter [00:04:42] But this isn’t about me today. This is about you. And I wanted to start by asking you, what are your most important social networks and communities?
Gina Bianchini [00:04:55] Yeah.
Gina Bianchini [00:04:55] So, I mean, if I were to take a step back and and, you know, I have a different perspective on on even just the term community or social network, because what most people actually think when you use those terms, they think social media. And I think that the that the divergence of community and social media are so stark right now that I can’t even answer that question without first talking about the fact that a community that comes together in a trusted way to master something interesting or important to them together is fundamentally different than what is happening in social media today. Now, social media has a lot of really great things, a lot of a lot of really important benefits. We’re seeing that today. It’s hard to have the kind of conversation that we’re having today without acknowledging what is going on not just in this country, but around the world as it was as it relates to people making and taking a stand for equality, justice and a different and better world. And so. When we think about social media, that is a fantastic platform for getting a message out for I communicate out at you. My followers listen to me my all. It’s essentially an audience, but no one’s really talking to each other compared to a community and certainly the kinds of communities that we enable on mighty networks. And I enabled on Ning before before Mighty Networks, where it is really about a creator or a host led experience that brings people together to build relationships with each other. In pursuit of mastering something interesting or important together. I bet that is very stark and clear to me, but I hope it’s, you know, clear, clear to others as well. So in that context. OK. And we just wait.
Robbie Baxter [00:07:09] Can we just break that down? I just want to make sure we’re doing we’re doing some definitions of unity.
Robbie Baxter [00:07:15] You said it’s hosted and it thoughts achieving an end. Yes.
Gina Bianchini [00:07:20] And I wouldn’t even say that there’s an end, but it is about mastering something interesting or important together.
Robbie Baxter [00:07:30] That could be your career.
Gina Bianchini [00:07:32] That could be your health, your wellness. That could be mastery of understanding a sport as a as a sports fan. But there is there is a pursuit of of results, transformation of of mastery in the most effective communities that exist.
Gina Bianchini [00:07:56] And the bigger thing is that it is this mastery happens with people building relationships to each other. And so by hosting, I don’t mean hosted software. I mean there is someone in charge of the community. There is a there is a set of cultural norms, culture party, not hosted network then.
Robbie Baxter [00:08:18] And what does. So if that’s a community.
Robbie Baxter [00:08:22] And, you know, you jump right in with kind of the distinction between network and community. How what is a network? If a community.
Gina Bianchini [00:08:31] No No To be clear, I. So I want to get this right. I believe a community network are actually the same thing. Because the network is about different nodes in that network connecting to each other and making something that’s even more valuable to everyone with each new person who joins social media. If social media started as a social network, it has it has morphed into people with very loud and not even people. You could even go as far as to argue state sponsored organizations and others are with big microphones, with big audiences. Driving messages out, not necessarily building relationships between people. It has morphed into something different. And that’s one of the reasons why I stopped to answer. Hang on. Let’s talk about definitions, because I believe that this is one of the most critical definitions to understand in order to see where the world is going. Because the implications of people getting to sort of the end of what’s possible with social media and moving more quickly into the much more interesting, much more valuable and desired state of private or paid communities or networks is real. And it is happening right now as we speak.
Robbie Baxter [00:10:03] So why is this happening now?
Gina Bianchini [00:10:11] So I think it’s a number of different reasons. One is that. Increasingly, social media is not very effective at helping people achieve results and transformation. It’s it’s a place that we go. It’s sort of equate it to eating, you know, high fructose corn syrup, you know, like it’s delicious while it’s in your mouth. But then you’re, like, ill like that. Didn’t feel really good to do that. So there’s a whole set of people that are sort of starting to say to themselves, you know what, I actually I like I love the power of online. I love the fact that I get to meet incredible people all over the world. And it’s just different and it’s amazing. And I love the people I follow and I believe in the way that they are are articulating the world and the world that we want to live in. And they’re helping me master something interesting or important together. And I I want to follow them to a place where I can meet other people that are like us, that have the same goals, that have the same, you know, desire for the same kinds of results and transformation. And I’ll give you a very specific example, because I know we’ve been talking a lot of abstracts in a moment that is very different than what’s happening in social media, where the whole model is designed for your entire life is gonna be in one feet. The problem with your entire life being in one field is that it becomes really easy for for all these other people to show up. And especially, as you know, the the level that people have in terms of the number of people who are connected to each other, like I have like 5000 friends on Facebook.
Gina Bianchini [00:12:02] I don’t have five thousand friends. Like five thousand. Yeah, exactly.So it’s like so now you have this ability where it’s like let’s say you want to develop a meditation practice or you want to actually spend time really thinking about what does personal finance mean in a really uncertain moment where we’re not sure where the world is or where it’s going. The best places to spend time in uncertain moments are in communities with people who are navigating the same journey in your Facebook feed. That is not happening because it’s all about the other outrage that is happening in the world. And there’s a lot of outrage in the world. It does not allow us to focus. It does not allow us to go deeper with other people who care about the same topic that we do. And that is important to us. And it does not allow us to get results in transformation. And what do people pay for? They pay for results in transformation. Why? Because there is results and transformation is extraordinarily valuable. So what I believe is happening is as social media becomes more and more of a distraction engine and, you know, and as far as Facebook is concerned. They just want you to stay on Facebook. They don’t care if you’re writing a post about your outrage, about somebody saying, you know, something that that is that you vehemently disagree with or that there’s you know, again, there’s enemies on all sides fit for Facebook. They just see that as more time spent, more data being generated and more ads to target at you. And I don’t fault them for it. That’s their business. But I believe that we’re also seeing a whole set of people asking themselves different questions to say. One, I don’t actually want to have my the things that are most important to me, like a spiritual practice or or something I want to get really good at, like my career in the same place that I’m navigating political discussions. I just want them to be separate. Very simply, I just want them to be separate. And there’s a whole set of creators who are like, I want to give you something better. I want to give you a better experience. I want to be able to offer something that’s structured. I want you to have a membership so that, you know, it’s gonna be amazing. And so people wanting a higher quality of experience, a safer experience. They are spending more and more of their time in either private communities. Now, the private communities that have online courses associated with them or paid communities or paid memberships because they are more tightly controlled. They are higher value. They are higher quality. And they just don’t make you feel crappy for spending time in them.
Robbie Baxter [00:14:55] Do you. What are your. I just wanna ask you a personal question about sharing what you talked about these goals that different different communities can can achieve. What what kinds of goals are you involved with right now? Are there other communities that are useful for you?
Gina Bianchini [00:15:13] Yeah. So I would say the community I spend the most amount of time in is our own community. For people who run money networks. So we have over twenty thousand people in. Community. So those are people on our free plan and on paid plans and just incredible people. I mean, that’s all there is to it. So and then within this community, it’s called Mighty House. I get right in that community. Yeah. Like in in my day house, we run an online course called the Community Design. Masterclass in our promise with community design is it’s a very simple program, very simple formula for creating a community so valuable you can charge for it. And so well-designed, it essentially runs itself. And we’ve had over two thousand people go through community design and this master class. And then again, there’s the larger community of mighty hosts. And what I have found, especially over the last six months, is that I am drawn to the quality and the focus of this community, not just because I run it, but I’m happy and proud to run it, but because it gives me energy. It gives me hope. It gives me optimism. I watch every single day help people who start with gashes in a community. A lot of work is into, you know. Isn’t it just for people who have a following, who have a podcast? You know, I couldn’t possibly do this. Get to a place where they’re like, oh, my gosh, I can totally do this. I just can reframe this into something that, wow, if I can actually bring 10 people together and take them through a six week journey to master something interesting to them and then turn that into an ongoing subscription, I can do that. Ten people is not hard to do. And if those ten people are paying me five hundred dollars for that six week experience, well, then I can get one hundred people to pay me five hundred dollars. Got to get it right. But it’s not you know, I have to spend thousands of dollars on beautiful videos or I have to get my content right or I have to keep producing content. Nobody wants to read your content. What they want is to connect with other people on the same journey to master something interesting or important together. And that’s a really, really important distinction. So when I see people make that shift, it’s the most energizing thing that I can do. And I contrast that with the time I do spend on social media because I’m not like I mean, I’m a breathing person in 2020. And so for me, I’ll spend time on I’m primarily Twitter. But it’s for something very different. It’s not at Twitter. It’s not a community. It’s my source of it’s my source of news. It’s my source of what’s happening in the world. But my community are other creators, other hosts, other people who are stepping into this moment and saying, I’m willing to lead. I don’t know exactly how I’m going to do it. I’m a little nervous, but this is a moment where we need leaders. And even if it’s a leader of ten people, even if it’s a hey, I don’t know, what are our careers going to look like as restaurant owners in 2020? But I know that I’ve had a podcast for eight years and every successful restaurant for every successful topic has been on this podcast. And I can translate that into a community of aspiring restaurant tutors, aspiring people who want to build something. But you know what? All those things that we learned they’re gonna have, we’re gonna have to figure this out together because this is a new world and it’s changing every week. And you do that, you navigate those moments most effectively in a community.
Robbie Baxter [00:19:20] So I’m curious, you know, you said, you know, oh, all you need are 10 people to gather and you have a community there, people listening who are thinking about they have a lot of subject matter experts. There’s also a lot of people that have big organizations and are trying to figure out, do we need community? Does community work? How do you how do you decide if building a community is right for you, if you have a goal? Like if you have a podcast, you know, on one hand, we have the subject matter experts. We also have the associations. Right. The professional associations and societies. We have, you know, movement leaders. And we have people that create learning content. And then we have big companies. Right. That you have products. Right. Did they need a community around their products? How do you do? Are you like a hammer that says everybody needs a community? Yes or no?
Gina Bianchini [00:20:19] No, I’m not a. So I can give you examples in every single one of those categories, though. Let’s just start with like a product company. So there’s a French based women, athleisure athletic wear called myself. And they launched, they started actually on their own apps. And then they moved to Mighty Network almost a year ago or actually less than a year ago. And they have a hundred dollar a year, one hundred and fifty dollar a year, not exactly sure at the price point , community for women runners and women athletes and that is a model of, you know, how physical products support a community, but ultimately, at the end of the day, physical products are there to help you achieve a goal or help you get closer to something that you want. And so I say that for companies that have, you know, physical products, the the companies that should not build a community in the places that just doesn’t make any sense to build a community is like Diet Coke, like nobody neat. Nobody wakes up in the morning and it’s like they really need to do is talk to other people who drink Diet Coke. I don’t care. I don’t know. If anything, I’d like to talk to the people that have gotten off Diet Coke.
Robbie Baxter [00:21:50] Well, OK. But I can I can I jump in here? So. So something that I would think about, you know, kind of in my in my world.
Robbie Baxter [00:21:55] The thing about it, if Diet Coke came to me and they said we want a community or maybe let’s say as a consultant, they come to me and they say, we want to explore whether there is a way that we can use community to build deeper engagement with our offerings. Right. Right. If they if they came to me and said that, I would start to think of I think your point is right, which is that most people don’t think of Coke as a gathering place, but they may not think of sneakers or sports bras as a gathering place. But what you what you brought up is that they’re very focused on the bigger reason. So why do people drink Diet Coke? Well, they drink Diet Coke because maybe they they think it is healthier on their journey to better health right, better than drinking full sugar. You’re making a face. But, you know, I think that some people say, you know, I’ve been drinking twelve Cokes a day or, you know, a Diet Coke is a treat that I can that, you know, I can drink and that will help me help me lose weight. Or maybe they’re drinking it because it’s a treat. So I’m you know, I’m thinking.
Gina Bianchini [00:22:55] But I was back to in the case of a sports bra and I want to go to the other examples as well. But but I think it’s important just to show the contrast. Not everything should be a community in the case of of of a sports bra. It’s you’re wearing once you can go out and do some stuff, like for the most part, or sit at your house comfortably. But there is a there is an active reason for it. I my my bigger point is Diet Coke does not have that same like what is the active reason. And that’s not true though. For now, let’s get into the just really obvious categories where a community makes a ton of sense. Anything that has a a mash up component of mastery to it needs a community shouldn’t even have a community needs a community because this whole notion, this notion that you are going to learn anything in a vacuum from applying it. And it is, first of all, dumb. Second of all, and I know that that’s a controversial statement, but I making it in a in a provocative way to say, well, just because you produce some some content does not mean somebody is going to stick stick with it. And actually, we see this really clearly that they don’t stick with it. And yet we think that a comment section is out, you know, on it, on an LMS is like check that box off. No, it’s so much bigger than this. So let me give you an example. When you approach learning or you approach mastery as a journey, as something that you set up the scaffolding or the structure for, and then within that, it’s not just about your content. Your content starts the conversation, but it’s about how each and every member on that same journey to master that topic shares their stories, their experiences, their ideas, how they applied it, that it becomes three dimensional and Technicolor and awesome. And it is so much more valuable to everyone when you create that kind of a structure as opposed to thinking, hey, I’m going to I’m going to produce more content, I’m going to have fifteen hours of content. No one wants your fifteen hours of content. What they want is to achieve their results in transformation. They want to get to the other side. They want to get to the other side as quickly as possible. So that’s important.
Robbie Baxter [00:25:37] I think so. So what you said about they don’t want your fifteen hours of content. I would I would just want to clarify. I think that what you’re what you’re the point you’re making is not that they don’t want the content at all, don’t make your content, but rather that the content is only in service to the achievement of their goal.
Gina Bianchini [00:25:57] Yes. And what happens? And the reason I’m being provocative about this. It is because what happens is we tend to get stuck on the 15 hours of content because we’re producing, you know, and so it’s like, well, look at how great this content is. And I I have for years attempted to never use the word content because I think that it it creates this sense of a passive audience and it’s not a passive audience that gets anything done or that m. something interesting or important to them. It’s an active community. It is. It is people that are doing the work and sharing and learning from other people. And it’s it’s only in those moments when you wake up in the morning and you’re like, oh, I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s so hard where it’s the story coming in. If somebody else who just got back from their run or just did their meditation practice or just said, you know what, my my my parent died today, my mother died this morning. And I’m really sad. But I also know that this practice that we’ve been building together or the fact that I have this community, as I as I’m navigating this fundamental shift in my career, I know I’m going to be OK. Those are the moments that have us stop and pay attention that that create the connections and the network and that and that level of authenticity and vulnerability that allows us to master that important topic together and and be a part of something so much bigger than ourselves. And that is why we have communities and why we’re doing what we do.
Robbie Baxter [00:27:42] I love that. I think so.
Gina Bianchini [00:27:44] I had a comment and then I want to literally and by the way, last week in our communities, I master. And so that that, you know, that’s not just an example out of thin air, like literally of a woman’s mother had passed away and she shared it with the group. And it was just it was a moment to remind us all, why are we doing what we’re doing? And that’s what I mean by communities, are the things that allow for that to happen. And sometimes, you know, especially I would say, you know, in incorporations, we we try to lose our humanity. And certainly what you write it, you know, what we look at now is that you just can’t do that.
Gina Bianchini [00:28:24] Yeah. I think, you know, a couple of really important points. One of them is there’s a lot of learning organization exists that are better tuned in right now. And a lot of people that create, like you said, that create this these these learning programs and educational materials and materials to help people understand the world around them and to achieve their goals and create the change they want to change. They want it. They want to make in the world. And I think a really important point you bring up is that if your goal is to help them achieve that change. There’s a lot of other techniques that are going to be just as valuable, if not more about it’s like that’s the starting point if I’m going to learn how to drive. I can read the manual, but probably I could do a lot better by by doing it. It’s a great setting with other people driving by, complaining with my friends about what’s hard. You know, all of that and that traffic, you know, all that. And then and then also, you know, as you brought up, I think is such an important point about community is that sometimes the thing that’s getting in the way of you being successful is has would seem to have nothing to do with that topic. So the reason I’m not doing a good job of building my community today and inviting 12 new people or posting this new asset is because my mother died. Right. That that would not be in any learning journal about how to build a community. Right. Here’s what you do when when you lose a loved one. But it is so core. And many people, I’m sure in your community, many people empathized. Many people were willing to listen. And that could get her through kind of the day and, you know, kind of keep going. And then maybe some people actually had very similar experiences and could relate in a in a special way. So for people listening and thinking, you know, the reason that, you know you know, I usually talk about subscription, but membership, you know, I always want membership to include, you know, all the elements that are going to help someone achieve their goal. And if you if you have all the elements, it justifies the pricing decision to charge for it. And so, you know, I just I just wanted to make that point and vehemently agree with you all.
Gina Bianchini [00:30:40] And I’m not trying. You know, we built online courses into a mighty network. You can actually set up structured content in a make up network in a course. And we use it to to teach people how to create communities, how to design communities. So I. I think. So that the that the the rigid understanding of what online course and courses mean or Ellum Esses mean, that is the thing that I. I want to challenge, because to your exact point, the content is one small piece of it. And rather, you know, on any any, you know, mastery journey, it’s about understanding where are people starting, what is getting in their way? What are the things that they actually need to understand the fastest so that they stick with it. And then how do you reinforce through the social connections being made, the community dynamic, the the behaviors, the practices and the application of that of that topic? So that mastery is possible.
Robbie Baxter [00:32:01] Can I have a question for you? All right. This is from Pip Cameron, who is the chief customer officer at Stuff in New Zealand. And she says, in New Zealand, we have a private community based around neighborhoods. How do you build mastery into what is essentially connecting with your neighbors in a trusted environment? How do you move from connection to community?
Gina Bianchini [00:32:24] Yeah, it’s such a good question and one that I would say, you know, we’re thinking a lot about and I think a lot about in the US because one of the things that’s happening right now is you have something like a service like next door and next door, you know, is it’s bringing out a lot of very good things about neighbors and people and neighborhoods, as well as a lot of bad things in terms of racial profiling. The sense that that, you know, are, you know, somebody showing up in the neighborhood that doesn’t look like us must be a criminal. And a lot of other bad stuff in a lot of other judgment. I, I think the reason mastery is actually really important. And we’ll get to some ideas. And Robbie has some, I’m sure, great ideas as well. But the reason mastery is so important is because it gives people a common goal. One of the challenges of social media is that is that there’s no common goal. It’s just it’s it’s almost like if people just sit around all day and, like, don’t have a guided conversation, it’s like it can devolve very quickly into, you know, just whatever. And the challenge with neighborhoods is it can devolve into whatever. And so I’m a big believer that the way that you make communities constructive and again, in the way that you actually build relationships between people that don’t have a lot in common is through that that big purpose, the purpose, the motivation for your community. So whether that is around a career or whether that is around health and wellness, whether that is around personal finance or parenting and with a guided experience, it also gives structure to it such that mastery is not only is not only the focus, but it’s also the reason why people are willing to have conversations across otherwise very, very polarizing lines.
Gina Bianchini [00:34:34] Go ahead. Go ahead, Robbie.
Robbie Baxter [00:34:36] I think you know what? What you bring up is so important that there’s there’s different. There are some good communities and there’s some bad ones or there are some productive or you said constructive, I think was the word you used. And I want to dig in on that a little bit because you’re such a a thought leader and groundbreaker in terms of building community. And you’ve seen some really bad communities as well. So maybe you can talk about, you know, how you have come to see what makes a community work or make a community break down and fall apart.
Gina Bianchini [00:35:12] Yeah. So I saw this so clearly in the last week that. That I think it’s I think it’s important to talk about. So communities. Well, I’ll even take a step back. Social media today is a battlefield. It has been weaponized. And the way that it has been weaponized is by arming otherwise very decent people. Otherwise, very good people with a with a relentless stream of meems.
Gina Bianchini [00:35:53] Alternative facts.
Gina Bianchini [00:35:55] And what-about-ISM, meaning that if you if you are just a normal person and you’re like, hey, this thing seems to bother me and there’s a whole technique around, well, that is an important. Well, what about all these other things? What about all these other things? What about all these other things? And you know, where it where it originated was in the goal of lots of people to create chaos, discord and and deflection and distraction from otherwise, you know, sincere people trying to do the right thing. However they define it
Gina Bianchini [00:36:33] And so what is essentially happening today is that into any conversation that that we’re trying to have certainly in this in this failed public square, has become has the potential to be to be shut down and silenced by these techniques that are all hiding behind the concept of free expression. So I do not believe at this point. And yes, there are good places on Facebook and there are good places on Twitter, but they are not good enough to to support the kind of silencing that is happening of of normal people and people that are trying to do the right thing. And in our words, when in a world where words have so weaponized, so so, so much. Yeah. Well, you know, certainly it’s like you can’t say that black lives matter without being accused of support with not supporting a left or that that.
Robbie Baxter [00:37:38] Yeah. But I mean, I meant I’m sorry. Specifics for best practices.
Gina Bianchini [00:37:43] And so. So I was getting there. Sorry. Yes. The question of like what’s bad. What’s bad is when there’s this expectation that everyone should have a voice no matter what that voice says. Mm hmm. And that and that. And what has happened is that there is a relentless stream of polarizing information that is put inserted into conversations that are not constructive and that creates bad communities.
Gina Bianchini [00:38:09] Full stop. So what is it? What creates a good community? One, I think there has to be a purpose to it.
Gina Bianchini [00:38:17] We know we have to know why we’re there. Because, again, it in in in a vacuum, all the battle lines are drawn and they’ve gotten very good. And through a combination of a lot of different people who wanted to sow chaos and wanted us to not like each other and wanted us to find what we hate about the other person as opposed to what we have in common. So so we have created that dynamic. So the only way to get beyond that, Robbie, is you create a common purpose. You create a bigger purpose. It’s got to have mastery associated with it.
Gina Bianchini [00:38:52] It’s got to be led with with some structure. And it’s got to shut down any of those techniques when you see them.
Robbie Baxter [00:39:06] how do you do that? So so we’re in a community. We both agree that our goal is to to build successful. You know, we’re both we’re both trying to I’m trying to think of something innocuous. We’re both trying to build a better new neighborhood. We live in the same neighborhood where it were like Pip was saying, We’re in this neighborhood. And I say something somebody else finds it offensive. They tell me, it quickly goes down a rathole of somebody saying, you know, you’re a horrible person and you should be ashamed of yourself.
Gina Bianchini [00:39:35] Right. So typically, the neighborhood is not enough because, again, what does it mean to build a better neighborhood? It’s too general. Another thing would be we want to come together in our neighborhood to ensure that the kids in our neighborhood are supported. And there’s you know, there’s there’s open houses for them to feel safe and to people to feel supported. Let’s have a conversation about how we prevent crime in our neighborhood without, you know, without profiling people. We’d have to actually come to some agreements that are pretty specific about what we’re trying to accomplish. And it cannot if the more that you leave something open ended. The more that this weaponization can can come into it. And again, I don’t blame the people that are coming in and trying to do this. They’ve been taught very, very well by a lot of people whose only goal it is, is to sow discord and and deflection and in chaos, because we’re weak when we are when we are when we are silenced and we are weak when we cannot achieve and use communities to master something interesting or important together. So more importantly, there has to be an arbiter that can come in at that moment and say the person who just called the other person like that is not our norm. We don’t do that. It’s the same thing you would do to to, you know, elementary school kids that would be bullying another kid. You say stop.
Robbie Baxter [00:41:06] So a moderator and a host is pretty important. And also, it sounds like having just it’s not enough to say we’re similar, but to say we’re similar and we share this goal. And then having norms and then having actual moderators who say, you know what, it’s not okay to say whatever you want. We have rules here.
Gina Bianchini [00:41:26] So and by the way, then, have you have you ever seen anything when people are involved that don’t have those elements that that works?It doesn’t work.And so this notion that we were and that’s why I call it the failed online public square, because because those things have been absent. It means that there are forces that can divide and and sow discord and and really focus on the things that that, you know, demonstrate how different we are as opposed to the things that we have in common.
Robbie Baxter [00:42:03] So I have a couple of questions I know work better close to the end of our time. And I have a million more things I want to talk to you about.
Gina Bianchini [00:42:09] It’s always, you know, I. I apologize for taking us kind of down this this moment, but I am so shocked as somebody who has watched and really started spending fewer and fewer, you know, hours in social media. I am so shocked at how the conversation has devolved in social media over the last 15 years. I also am seeing every single day on our platform how a different model is creating breakthrough results for people. And that’s not because I’m like patting myself on the back. It’s like it’s because we actually did a lot of unpopular things by saying it’s about the creator. It’s not about growth. It’s about a high quality experience for whether it’s 10 members or a 100 members or a thousand members. It’s not about how many followers you have. It’s about the quality of the connections that people are making. And that has been a very unpopular position for a very long time. But it is how people get it.
Robbie Baxter [00:43:14] What do you mean? What do you mean? It’s a very unpopular.
Gina Bianchini [00:43:18] I bet there are many people who are listening if you are in a corporation or you’re in a membership organization, that that if it doesn’t have hundreds of thousands of people, it’s not successful. I would argue so hundreds of thousands of people that have been weaponized to just keep yelling and talking with each other like this or three billion people that are doing this, really, you know, is worse then a then a thousand people who actually have a strong set of norms and culture to help each other.
Gina Bianchini [00:43:54] And that is different.
Robbie Baxter [00:43:55] I think a key point, a key takeaway for people listening and thinking about their own communities is and some of the Gina has said in different ways, you know, several times, is that the metrics that you use to evaluate whether your community is working or not or may not be what you think they are. So it may not be the number of people that are that are in your community. It may not be the number of interactions they have in your community, the number of times people post or comment or like. It’s really about the the goals being achieved. It’s about the trust that’s been created. And it’s about a shared purpose. So, you know, I think one of the kind of takeaways that I’m taking away is that communities, the core principles of what it means to have and use a community in your business or in the achievement of your goals, it really needs to be very different than what most people have thought it it should mean.
Gina Bianchini [00:45:01] The fact that we celebrate people based on the number of followers they have–is a really interesting metric.
Gina Bianchini [00:45:14] I don’t think any of us can look back and say, are we better off in a world that values messages and people based on the number of followers they have, then a world where people have strong relationships with a smaller number of people in pursuit of mastering something interesting or important to them.
Robbie Baxter [00:45:37] Yeah. So any final final last words you want to say? I’m so grateful that you that you came and spent time with us today.
Gina Bianchini [00:45:45] I am. I I think I’ve done more than enough talking. And I just really appreciate the opportunity to, you know, be here with you. Yeah. Well, originally from our from our various living rooms. And no, I’m just really grateful. And I think you just do such important work. So thank you.
Robbie Baxter [00:46:03] Thank you. Thank you, Gina. And for those of you that are that are still listening, please feel free if you have other questions. We didn’t get to post them.
Robbie Baxter [00:46:13] And also, I’m going to post my own Mighty Networks group so you can check it out and maybe be a part of that and get a guess of what we’ve been talking about. Thanks.