Home Blogs Building new (digital) communities ….

Building new (digital) communities ….

Building new (digital) communities ….

When we’re all craving a community because of the new nature of work, the default place we’re going to find one is online.

By Nazarul Islam

Our Communities are the powerful drivers of activity—because, by our nature we are desperately inclined to connect with one another. Even as children we were taught that humans are social animals. We need to speak and be heard. And, we crave togetherness. Don’t we yearn to belong to a place, or a group or a community, or a nation? This proclivity toward tribalism is written into our DNA, from a time before recorded time, when belonging literally meant the difference between life and death.

Let’s not forget that our own ancestors had depended on this trait. Nature selected for it. The genes of their descendants have carried it.

Not very long ago, it was our habit to wake up, report for work and spend the day among anywhere from five to five hundred people down at the job site, at the plant, factory, in the office, at the factory, in a store, wherever, somewhere, and, with some people. And then 5 o’clock rolled around and the day was done. At the sound of the blowing whistle – Fred Flintstone would slide down the back of a brontosaurus. And proceed to the courtyard, to wait for his friends!

Who yells “Quittin’ time!” now? There’s no whistle. If your company is running on Slack, it’s probable that the Calamari app tells you it’s time to log off. You look around. There’s no one near you. Maybe you’re even home already. Many of the people you’ve spent the day interacting with aren’t physically in the same city or state.

The Zooms are terse and businesslike. The email exchanges are as short and sweet as they can be so as not to waste each other’s time. It’s efficient. Yet, it’s inhuman. You need real interaction – Something to be a part of – A team to play on and to root for. A story that keeps the teammates aligned – A set of outsiders or bad guys that the whole team can agree to hate – Together.

When we’re all craving a community because of the new nature of work, the default place we’re going to find one is online. We may start out agreeing with just one or two things a given community says that it’s about. That’s enough to start reporting for duty each day or night – To “see” our tribe. It’s only a matter of time before we begin adopting the beliefs and language of the tribe we’ve become a part of.

Or, something repulses us from being a part of the group and we are back to looking for a new one. Most of this is happening subconsciously. We’re not saying out loud “I need a group of internet friends with similar interests and obsessions!” but that’s what’s actually happening.

The pandemic took this decades-long trend of distributed workforces, isolated people and online identity creation and accelerated it into warp speed.

There have always been stock message boards, but never like this before. There have always been forums for traders to chat, but never like this before. There have always been investing clubs, but never like this before. Everything is bigger now. The stakes are so much higher now.

Melvin Capital, the hedge fund that was blown up shorting GameStop and other stocks that these communities decided to rally around, was just the first and most obvious example of how high the stakes actually are. Steve Cohen’s Point 72 hedge fund lost $500 million on his investment in Melvin Capital in the first half of this year. He’s added to the investment and continues to back the fund so we’ll see how things really end sometime in the future.

Wall Street is not, and I repeat NOT going to be underestimating the power of these communities anymore. Now they’ll incorporate them into their thinking. Eventually, they’ll figure out how to violate them, siphoning out every trading dollar from their accounts by hook or by crook, but that’s a blog post for another day.

I know someone who gets on a microphone every weekday afternoon at 3pm and barks trading ideas at his subscribers as the market lurches toward the close. He says each week he can say less and less to the subs because they seem to really want talk with each other. It’s the same guys in the same trading chat room day after day. It’s a ritual.

No one is questioning whether this guy’s market calls or options trades actually pan out. The subs take some trades and ignore the rest. They’re not auditing him; they just like the environment he’s created for them to live inside of for an hour. There are regulars. They have their own in-jokes.

(To be continued)

[author title=”Nazarul Islam ” image=”https://sindhcourier.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Nazarul-Islam-2.png”]The Bengal-born writer Nazarul Islam is a senior educationist based in USA. He writes for Sindh Courier and the newspapers of Bangladesh, India and America. He is author of a recently published book ‘Chasing Hope’ – a compilation of his 119 articles.[/author]