Best Practice

Digital Tribes

By Alison Aldridge-Saur,

Download the latest Digital Tribes report here.

The Digital Tribes series of reports is the first product of the Digital Vision project, an effort to help new thought leaders get their insight out into the digital marketing world. The reports look at how Native American tribal characteristics reveal substantive practices that build stronger, more fulfilling and highly committed online communities.

Digital marketers have spent the better part of the last decade studying trends in media consumption, and many analysts have made comparisons of social media platform users to tribes. Phrases like "neo-tribe" and "digital tribes" have, in some corners, become popular descriptions of the individuals who have banded together in groups and built communities around communications software. 

But, what is a tribe? How do they work? And what can digital marketers learn from studying them? 

Digital Vision grant winner Allison Aldridge-Saur argues that three distinct elements are necessary for a tribe to form: Language, Culture, and Organization. Each of these "Tribal Pillars" are explored at length in a series of three reports.

The first report in this series was published in March 2012 and explores the topic of how names are vital to the identity of online communities, and examines the construction of private languages, jargon, symbols, and naming practices for communities, individuals and events.

The second report, published in May 2012, discusses the vital differences between audience and community building, and provides examples about how the latter has historically been accomplished within Native American tribes.

The third report, published in September 2012, focuses on organization or how online communities structure themselves and how they recognize leaders. It studies traditional Native American tribal practices to suggest how, once marketers have done the hard work of creating communities, they might ensure their longevity.

Download the first two reports to learn more:

Reports included in this bundle


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