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Are you Blogging for the Wrong Tribe?


Do you feel like you are blogging for the wrong tribe?

In 2003, I met tribe leaders to start my first outdoor coaching business. Real ones, with daggers in their belts, turbans on their heads and a loyal entourage sitting in a circle around them. At the time, I had no idea that building a strong community could help my business.

I was very much offline and in the hills, working hard to get the support of tribal leaders for my outdoor coaching program. After months of working to get their approval, I finally secured a few houses in a mountain village to use as a basecamp. All my courses would take place there.

The houses were in a poor state and it took another month to rebuild them. The work was slow because all the construction materials had to be carried up on donkeys or on foot. A week before launching, the place was burned to the ground by arson.

I had made a deal with the wrong tribe.

Spot the wrong tribe

The reason I got burned down was because my tribal leader got into an argument with a another tribe. They knew I had a deal with him so they decided to torch the houses to send him a message. I was stuck in the cross-fire.

Just like my mountain-village, the online world is an easy place to step into the ‘wrong’ tribe. Now, when I say wrong please keep in mind that the wrong tribe for you might be the perfect one for me.

A wrong tribe is one where two conditions are met:

  • You are member, not a leader
  • The tribe leader makes decisions and acts on them without informing, let alone consulting you
  • Your dreams and goals come second, the well-being of the tribe comes first.

Online, this can take the shape of a big and well-known blogger suddenly taking sides, or some members of the community you are part of taking a negative view on what you do.

For example, a wrong tribe can lead you to believe you are growing your blog while your just increasing traffic to the tribe leader’s platform.

Before you know it you are spending your time sharing content you don’t really approve of but you feel you ‘have to’ because they are your tribe.

Just because they give you some attention doesn’t mean you should join.

Check yourself: Be true to your business goals and your values. Stay away from negative members who attack other bloggers outside the tribe or within it. Remember why you joined this tribe in the first place.

If you are in the wrong tribe what can you do after you leave it?

Join a new tribe.

Take me to your leader

Much like an alien, your first action should be to find out WHO the leader of the tribe is. How does she manage her community and what type of person is she? With a bit of luck that person read Deb Ng’s excellent book on Community Management and has a smart approach to the way she deals with her tribe.

That person will understand that allowing you to grow as a member of her tribe and reach your goals is in her best interest. Opportunities for growth are truly exponential in the right tribe. The synergy of the different members will motivate you and allow you the safe space to grow a unique online voice.

At this point, the word tribe or community can almost be interchanged with team, everyone is pushing in the same direction, with the same vision.

Action: Make sure you know what type of person the leader of your tribe is. Check that your goals are supported by the leader.

So I really want to know, are you in the wrong tribe online right now?

How do you decide when a tribe is right for you online?
Find out more about tribes, spotting the wrong one, find the right one and how to build your own at my session at BlogWorld New York titled, From Being Hunted by Tribes to Building One: Lessons from the Desert to Build a Tribe Online, on Wednesday June 6th at 2:30pm.

In the session you will find out:

1. Why every tribe is the same
2. Why you need a tribe
3. What tribe you should join
4. Where you should start building your tribe
5. When can a tribe can help your business or hurt it


  • samtaracollier

    Wow John, this is a really great post. I never thought of the online community as a tribe before (in this particular way, with one person being the leader). It’s a very interesting concept that rings true for me.  I’m also downloading the book you mentioned, Online Community Management for Dummies, to get some more insight on how tribes work.  
    You have really been everywhere haven’t you!? I’m jealous! Maybe I’ll take my “tribe” around the world someday and drop in and visit you and Ameena Falchetto 🙂 

  • Mark Chambers

    Compelling post John … but when do we get to hear more of the story?

  • LindaSherman

    Great post John! I look forward to hearing more and meeting you in person at BlogWorld NYC. #BWENY

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