Take a look around and you will quickly see the power of tribes in people’s lives. Belonging to a tribe is about how you identify; how you want others to identify you. It’s an ancient concept that’s still very relevant to the world we live in today. It’s about recognition, belonging and community.
The sense of belonging and community that comes from being a member of a tribe is visible at all sorts of levels.
At the broadest level, we’re all human, and we’re all part of the human race – the biggest tribe. But break that down and you get the mosaic of tribes that make up the rich diversity of the human experience: the gamer; the drag queen; the guy who spends all his spare money and time on his cycling obsession.
Often we’re members of several tribes. The mum who works as a solicitor and writes a food blog in her spare time identifies with being a parent, working in the legal profession, and being on the search for the perfect pavlova recipe.
She reads parenting books (OK, skips to the bits that work for her), discusses schooling options with other mums and dads, and likes to do a bit of online shopping to find the bits and pieces with which to furnish and decorate her children’s rooms. She loves being a mum.
She works in a specialised area of commercial law and keeps up with her profession through journals, workshops and conferences. She invests in her professional education. She will often stay up late reading about this or that case because she is passionate about doing her job well. She is proud of being a great lawyer.
In between work and her family, she still finds time to keep up her food blog – something she started a few years ago as an outlet for her fascination with Moroccan food after she returned from a holiday there. She enjoys the challenge of writing about food and the camaraderie she has with fellow food bloggers. Though she is trying to cut back a little on how many cookbooks she buys.
Mums. Lawyers. Foodies. She’s a paid up and committed member of each of these tribes. And she’s not alone.
The internet has reshaped how people identify and belong. It has brought forth new tribes, empowered old ones, and continues to evolve the way people identify and connect with each other.
This new focus on identity and belonging means the future of online commerce is in connection. It’s about platforms that allow people to connect with their tribe and live their passions.
Out of this new world of tribes comes tremendous commercial opportunity for those entrepreneurs who can build and nurture community; who can facilitate the platforms that allow people to connect, identify and belong. It’s about people who can match tribes to marketplaces.