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Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,
As is normal within the culture of the modern living Vampyre, and associated cultural blocs, “groups” come and go with amazing speed and regularity, just as rapidly many of those will fade and disappear, so what’s the key in starting, and maintaining, a “group” for your goals, aims, initiatives and – above all – personal reward?
The first thing to consider is what is going to be the key topic, or point of view (POV) of the group. Generally a group with a focus and goal will fare somewhat better than yet another “catch all” group designed to simply net as many members as possible. It seems, in this age, that meme sharing has replaced conversation and the quickest way to kill a “conversation” is to post the question on Facebook. In a “focus”, or “self-interest” group you can gather a number of “like-minded” contributors for the purpose of accumulating a store of knowledge and information for common use. A “library” and discussion group if you will.
What’s the difference between a “focus” group and a “self-interest” group?
A focus group is comprised of a number of DIFFERENT individuals with DIFFERENT points of view brought together to brainstorm and develop a response to a SPECIFIC problem or issue.
Tecnically speaking a “self interest group” is defined as, “Define self-interest: concern only for getting what you want or need and not about what happens to other people.” I would suggest that in the context of the modern Vampyre, and associated, cultures it could be held to reflect a slightly different process but one which still achieves the same end result as the rather narrow technical definition, i.e. a “self-interest” group is one which aims to accumulate, store, disseminate and learn from a collected amount of information and COMMONLY HELD opinion.
If you wanted to build a house you would bring together architects, carpenters, masons, electricians and plumbers – in the first instance – to create the building. This is an example of a “focus” group where each different point of view is represented as a part of the final solution.
If you wanted to create a group about British Military History you would bring together Military Historians, and perhaps ex-servicemen of the British Military, to contribute and share information to create a complete picture of the subject.
Which way is best?
It all depends on what you want to achieve.
Take, for example, a hypothetical “Group Project” – Top 5 set-up requirements.
1) Balanced and co-ordinated “founder team”. It has been proven, in psychological and workplace studies that a “Focus Group” consisting of individuals of different strengths and specialties makes for the best mix of creation. The one thing that is important above all, each member of the team should, ideally, be in the project for the ‘right’ reasons.
2) Advertise. From day one, a presentation for public consumption. This will thwart the “rumour mill” and the “haters”.
3) Communicate. Create a webpage, not a group, where you can feed regular updates on progress and growth to “followers” and have them see, thus spread the word, that you are NOT hiding anything.
4) Appoint a spokesperson, 1 ONLY. All communications for public consumption should be made by that person only. Extra people, throwing in extra words may seem to be uncoordinated and will, even if unintentionally, provide ammunition to the “haters and critics”.
5) Maintain the flow, growth and development. Appoint more staff if you need to, assign specific tasks and goals to each. DON’T try and go it alone. Any delays will come across to followers as, “Yeah, well, not really THAT interested, just doin’ it for shit’s an’ giggles really…”
The majority of modern Vampire Culture groups, in my opinion, fall firmly into the “Self-interest” group category and because of this the struggle to outdo other, similar, groups is always intense with each entity vying for the attention, and loyalty, of as many members as possible. As with anything of like nature there are problems inherent in each methodology that need be considered fully prior to any “group” coming into being.
“Focus Group” – The danger with a focus group is that it can get bogged down in minutiae and let the finicky details overcome the achievement of aims. For example, let’s say our ‘House Building’ focus group was looking over the Architect’s plans for the building. The Mason might say, “You can’t make brick and mortar do that, you’ll have to use another material, ten times more expensive.” The Architect says, “It’s my project, I say we do that.” Then the plumber pops up and says, to the electrician, “You’ll have to re-route the mains here and here because I need to hard-pipe to make the plumbing navigate this space effectively.” To which the Electrician replies, “Sorry, that’s not code, can’t do that.”
So, instead of actually achieving the end result in a reasonable space of time and within a reasonable budget, protracted disagreements based on EACH CONTRIBUTOR’S agenda can dog the project.
In a “Self-Interest Group”, at the heart of it is the group “owner’s”, or “convener/s” personal agenda in opening the group. This “personal self-interest” can sometimes preclude reasonable debate because opinions, as we all know, are like assholes and getting around that, especially among modern living Vampyres, is kinda like getting to Australia from the U.S. in a canoe. The more members that are attracted to the more open self-interest group increases the available “opinions” that each demands to be heard and thus, in a way much like the “Focus Group” example, an atmosphere of argumentative clash of opinions can be fostered and once prevailing is very difficult to remove unless you begin throwing members out which gets you marked as elitist, snobby and bitchy.
It can seem, with either case, as if it’s a “no win” scenario but, in each case, the thing that will save the day is even handed, fair, accommodating but consistently firm control.
Set the rules BEFORE you go into the launching of the group or project. Make anyone wishing to join the group REVIEW AND ACCEPT IN WRITTEN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT those rules thus no one can complain when they get dumped for breaking the rules.
Stick to your main theme, goal or aim. Make that the central item, or topic, of the group and don’t let the inevitable “side tracks” take control and muddy the water to the point where you lose sight of the initial concept.
Most of all, DON’T GO IT ALONE unless you only plan on having 6 to 10 friends in it with you. Find one or two trusted accomplices (friends) who share your point of view to help administer the thing, remember the old saying, “No man is an island unto himself.”
Of course, this is all just an opinion based on around twenty years “real life” experience, and professional qualifications, in procurement, warehouse management, engineering and mechanical workshop supervision, occupational health safety and welfare co-ordination and people management roles…
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