80 million people watched the Chandrayaan live stream. That undoubtedly was an unparalleled moment ushering so many of us into a frenzy of collective pride, community & nationalism.
But an interesting thing caught my attention: Google Trends for Chandrayaan spiked from 0 to 100% and then fell to ~30% all in under 24 hours.
Along with being a monumental reason for national pride, it was also a prime example of the largest community building.
So I wondered if I could decode what brought so many people together so easily. It surely had to be more than “first on the south-pole.” With all due respect, its the moon — a body in space, there are literally thousands of virgin spots where anyone would be the first to go.
I have come to believe that it was not the act itself, or the difficulty, novelty, significance, nationalism of it, but being allowed to be a part of this journey is what made the difference.
The live-streaming with the detailed commentary was the masterstroke. It was that which allowed us to feel the thrill, emotions, adventure & the ultimate pride as it happened. It was as like watching the 2011 cricket world cup final. Without the livestream, it would just have been a newspaper headline and hardly few would have bothered.
I have come to believe that lasting communities are made when businesses find ways for people to be a part of their journey, rather than with influencers peddling the wares.
In his book, The Tower and the Square, Niall Fergusson argues that networks are defined by strong and weak bonds. Strong bonds are a result of some necessity, perhaps an emotional need.
But a “need” can always be fulfilled by a new competitor. What cannot be replicated are the moments when a business made people feel a part of the adventure before finding the emotional accomplishment.
Until then, back to the feeling of momentous pride of moon-landing.