Meetup.com has it all. Whatever you are interested in, you can find others who are as well. And often nearby to where you live. However, if by the off chance you don’t find the others, it’s easy to set up a group and let the world know. Meetup.com is a convening platform.
Convening is one of the ways culture changes and is made. It connects the individuals, potentially lonely individuals, to each other. Thereby, these individuals realise “I’m not alone” or “I’m not crazy”, which is powerful. Convening is slightly different than facilitating and both are important. The best part of convening is anyone can do it. It’s not something left to the powerful, the rich, or certain levels of an organisation. Convening is for all.
Convening the public act of inviting people to come together. And while meetup.com helps us find the others in society and our communities at large, convening happens within our organisations all the time. It should be an intentional part of any change plan. Convening strengthens the resilience of the early adopters laying the foundation for the early majority.
If convening is public, gossip is guerrilla-esque. Wherever humans gather in groups, gossip joins. Gossip is inherent in us as social beings. And we often know who helps the ‘news’ travel. Gossip often plays a cultural policing role – it allows a certain amount of change, but not too much. Therefore, it is important to consider how to influence it as it can be a powerful way of creating the type of environment required for spreading the positive change you seek.
Conveners and Gossips are often the behind the scenes culture creators and caretakers in our organisations. However, intentionally working with them helps us find the others who help the change we seek to flourish.
Photo by Kevin Butz