Are you studying culture? You should be.

At it’s simplest, the study of culture is the process of paying attention to stuff and writing it down. Culture is like oxygen: it’s omnipresent, and invisible. But stop and notice, and it’s all around us.

Within the context of community strategy, the study of culture is mega important. We already notice things like modes of dress (formal wear or bathrobes?), communication norms (“Forsooth, the yonder sun doth awaken” or “omg!!!! i <3 the sunrise :o ”?), types of interaction (waltzing or grinding?), etc. Studying culture is taking these things that are already within our awareness and naming them.

In doing so, we uncover opportunity. We uncover a different way to think about a group. We discover clues to increase the effectiveness of our communication. We figure out how to attract community members who will stick around and contribute. Importantly, we can also discover gaps; we can see what’s missing, and where there are opportunities to add value.

Studying culture gives you and your team a way to talk about and understand a group and an environment. By explicitly naming a group’s cultural proclivities you gain a new kind of superpower. Try it. It’s easy. I bet you’ll be surprised at how simply naming what you’re observing changes how you think.