One of the most wonderful things about horse husbands is their tremendous diversity. Horse husbands come from all walks of life, represent every occupation, income level, religious perspective, political orientation, nationality, and race. What binds us all together is the fact that we have somehow all ended up in a relationship with a horse person and, consequently, are presented with many similar questions, concerns, befuddlements, and joys.
Recently, there have been several posts to the Horse Hubby Facebook Page that have sought to elicit feedback from the community at large. This most recent post, from Zander Schrempp, was particularly entertaining (especially when his wife chimed in to offer some clarity). Although Zander’s post prompted a nice and helpful little discussion, as a post to the page, it would have been largely lost and ignored were it not also re-shared by the page itself. What these posts to the page have done is make two things clear:
- There is a need for a place on the internet for horse husbands to share questions and offer feedback between themselves
- A Facebook Community Page is not the best place to grow a community
The problem with Facebook pages is that they don’t drive true engagement around a topic. They are not dialogical in a way that would give every member of a community an equal voice when it comes to sharing content. Instead, they are monological, carefully curating content according to the values and priorities of page moderators and administrators. In other words, they encourage engagement in the form of responses to the concerns of the page, rather than allowing the community itself to drive the conversation.
This limitation on Facebook pages is by design. It is a feature rather than a flaw, because it allows brands and organizations to manage their identity by driving the conversation. But this is not what HorseHubby.Com is all about. The site is meant to be a place of dialogue, sharing, and open conversation. This doesn’t mean that one-sided modes of content delivery don’t have an important place in communicating exciting content published on the website. They certainly do. What it does mean, however, is that there needs to be a place for fellow horse husbands to create a space of open sharing and collaboration, a place to share our worries and our joys, but more importantly a place to develop a network of ‘drinking buddies’ (appealing to its Greek etymology, a symposium is literally a ‘drinking together,’ just as companionship is a ‘breaking bread together’) at horse shows and events around the nation.
As a start to meeting what is clearly a need and an opportunity, I have started the Horse Hubby Network on Facebook. Everything about horsehubby.com is iterative, and driven by a strong desire to meet the needs of this community. Currently, the Facebook group is closed, with a view to ensuring that posts are for us and by us. I have no idea if this is the best approach, if there is a better platform, or if this actually has any value at all.
If you are a ‘horse hubby’ and would like to become a part of shaping the future of this rapidly growing online community, please click the banner below and submit a request to join the group. If you have any ideas for how to best meets the needs of horse hubbies everywhere, please let me know by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by making a comment in the form below.