Image by shaindlin via Flickr
Over the past year I've delivered, participated in, or facilitated dozens of workshops, keynotes, conference talks, and panel discussions. All of them included at least a passing mention of social media, web-based community, or digital communication. Many of them focused exclusively on virtual interaction.
One well-established message, central to online interaction, surfaced again again, and it bears repeating.
Many people fret about "keeping up with technology." Software, websites and digital tools are constantly evolving, and new ones crop up all the time. People want to know how to identify and select the "right" online tools in the midst of continual upheaval.
Don't worry so much about picking the "right" technology or the "best" tool.
Instead, pay attention to what kind of interaction the tools enable or magnify.
Pay attention to human behavior.
[Pay attention to behavior, not technology]
Your audience – as a community – depends on human interaction and healthy relationships. That was true before the Internet, and it will be true post-Internet.
So focus on community, not technology. Or, as surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku said:
"Ride the wave, not the board."
Because technology changes.
But community doesn't.