Defining a ‘niche community’ with an application to the bottle-lamp website.
To fully understand a niche community lets break it into bite size pieces.
Niche – a place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing: to find one’s niche in the world.
Community – a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
So let’s put it back together.
Niche Community – Refers to a community of social networks that are set up by an organization that facilitate social networking for people in a specific niche.
Now that we’ve put together the blue print for this let’s put it into practical terms in regards to an actual niche community. A community like say . . . Bottle-Lamp!
There’s a lot to be said about the benefits of belonging to a community. However the concept of a community is not quite the same as it once was. Today there are online communities that have ways to interact with others who hold similar interests without us having to leave our home or participate at any set time. This new evolving concept of community is a nice reminder for us that you are not alone in whatever niche interest you may have.
The Niche Community offers – A Culture, Friendships, Shared Interests, Insider Information and Language.
Culture – With the development of Eco friendly environments, a green movement and an attitude toward each of us to look at our own carbon footprints, the recycling of glass bottles seems like a perfect match. If Up-cycling is the way to go then why not incorporate the artistic talents into a feel good campaign that makes decorating discarded decanters environmentally conscious? I’m sure we would all like to do our share to help save the planet but what if it was something more than following your kids through the house to turn off the lights in the rooms that they aren’t in. What if you were able to transform a throw away item and give it a whole new meaning and purpose.
If you looked at all of the posts on Bottle-Lamp tagged with the ‘DIY Show Off‘ you would get a real sense of how re-purposing is really happening. The culture that has been created to save the planet has found it’s way into our subconscious and has translated into a society of transformation. The Bottle-Lamp site has found a new purpose.
Friendships – When you share something that you made you are sharing a part of yourself. Once you’ve shared a part of yourself then you’ve really started to make a connection with the people that you’ve shared it with. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with trying to describe the many friendships that have been cultivated because of the connections that were made from the Bottle-Lamp site. The on line communities that have evolved may not have the same interactions of formally meeting with some one but the mutual feeling of respect and admiration still holds true.
With many of the people that we have met, we have moved beyond the familiarity of glass bottles, light strings and glass bottle cutters. A genuine interest in their well being and staying in touch with our fellow crafters has evolved into like minded kindred spirits.
Shared Interests – Who else would posts pictures of their bottles lamps, pendant lights and newly transformed glass tumblers created from re-used beer bottles? Now let’s throw that right back at the viewers themselves. Who would like to see bottles lamps, pendant lights and newly transformed glass tumblers created from re-used beer bottles?
The one that I still get a kick out of is dorking out over a posted picture of someone’s glass bottle collection. Yeah, I know I’m talking to a real bottle crafter when they start showing off their empty bottle collection. Glass bottles all lined up by shape and style just waiting to be snatched off the shelf so the next Kraken lamp can get made in a timely fashion. Who else could possibly relate to this?
Insider Information – Reviewing bottle craft tools and sharing sales on bottle craft items is just some of the many ways that we get to exchange information. From bottle cutter riviews to coupons for the Hobby Lobby Labor Day Sale, there is always something that community members can bring to the table that will enhance the experience for everyone involved.
It’s always exciting to see that people aren’t afraid to share information with each other. In certain terms some people might be reluctant to share with others who might be viewed as their competition. Taking down these misconceptions and opening up a dialogue for everyone in the community to get a chance to participate is the key to it’s success.
Language – Did you know that bottle crafters have their own lingo? Oh yeah. “The bottle stash is getting low and I need more glitter glue for my neck“, is not that uncommonly heard in certain circles. Like any tribe, once your in, your in. A myriad of different references and descriptive language comes into play. To any casual listener, this might all sound foreign and unintelligible but then why would anyone else care to understand?
The bottom line – With so many aspects offered through the Niche Community, you really can’t help but want to become involved in one. If you have a unique interest in anything I’m pretty sure that you’ll find a group of like minded individuals out that there that share your same passion and enthusiasm. Google and Facebook have made creating these niche groups common place and they both seem to have gone beyond encouraging both their development and growth. If you like Fly Fishing, you can join as many as 1,000 different groups! This might not be practical but it’s interesting to know that their are so many like minded souls out there like yourself.
My final thoughts on the whole Bottle-Lamp Community group as a it progresses into the future are very exciting. The community has seen a slow but steady growth and all of our social media outlets are engaging in conversations, answering questions and developing new content all the time. It has become self perpetuating and it will be the vehicle that moves forward long after people who have left and moved on thinking that it was just a fad.