Back in Feb 2020, I started an experiment, I started a paid members community in exchange for a social contract. A year and a half later, Thirdness continues through the on-off days of IRL and the 'community economy.'
What is the value of small when the line between Slack teams, substacks, and email newsletters is thinning out? The same principles that lead to Thirndess persist, if not exaggerated.
Everyone wants to be popular online. Not only in a commercial context, say an employer, campaign, or other business activities. More is always better without considering the meaning, impact, and value—more subscribers, more people in a Slack or a Discord team, larger Twitter following. When we don't consider the meaning of scale, we become a media business looking for eyeballs for the right call to action.
On a more tactical level, these kinds of community-as-a-business Slack/Discord groups are simply a way for a brand or individual to be on-stage, broadcast messages, and occasionally allow the audience to mingle. It means the averaging of culture and potential for the value I spoke about in Community to Circles.
Small actions, Long view
Hand in hand with the scaling community is the personal scale. It echoes a much larger psychological and funding model; everyone wants to be rich and change the world. It is increasingly clear though that 'changing the world' could mean changing something small for many people and that most of the time, the value goes to the brand/individual (thought leader status, product sales).
Thirdness speaks to small actions, in a generative, rather than transactional way. There is no big reveal, micro pivots at best.
We fit different trends and buckets of being. A person who travels a lot and takes video calls in other parts of the world is nomadic, but not a nomad. Can you make art without being an artist, be thoughtful without being called a designer, see meaning without calling yourself a poet?
We can oscillate when we allow for confusion, where clarity asks us to pick a landing.
Delivering clarity is giving someone a fish, a script to use, memorize and pass on as a concise distillation of a moment in time. But we change with time, new thoughts and ideas enter our work, and our message quickly becomes less accurate and less precise.
I look for discerning and generous minds, which involves joining various communities. I prefer paid communities, as they tend to have more design and holistic thinking. As I reflect back at half a dozen such comminities, I have yet to find any Slack/Discord that delivers organic, ongoing value if the admin first asks members to introduce themselves.
When we have to introduce ourselves to a room full of strangers, anything we say is wrong.
Thirdness grows through various changes—more on the places and plans for 2021 in this table.