Rituals play a critical role in the major religions of the world, whether it's the Latin incantations and incense of Catholicism, the times of the day and orientation of prayer in Islam, or the dietary rituals of Judaism, they all play a key role in reinforcing who you are why you exist and why you are doing what you are doing.
Similarly in community, rituals play a key role in at least two of McMillan's key aspects of commmunity spirit: membership (the feeling that members have of belonging), and a shared emotional connection (a shared faith in community members commitment to be together) ((Psychological Sense of Community: Theory of McMillan & Chavis - 1986)
And at the CMX Summit held last month in San Francisco, I was struck by the importance of rituals in the strengthening of communities.One of the great presentations at the Summit, was titled Crafting a Self-Sustaining Community Culture: The Power of Ritual, Purpose, and Shared Identity, by Emily Castor, of Lyft, the crowd-sourced cab company.
They have several rituals including passengers always sitting in the front seat not the traditional back seat, giving the driver the fist pump, and of course the pink moustache on the front of the car. All these reinforce the message to the community of passengers as to why they are using this service (over and above, I need a ride), and the community of drivers as to why they are participating and providing this service (over and above, I need the cash). See the full presentation here.
Religous rituals and community rituals work really well face-to-face, but what about online? Insiders language (think LOL, FOMO, and so on), can contribute to rituals of commmunication. Avatars and titles can contribute to membership symbols and emotional connection, but what else can we do to deepen and extend relatively shallow online network links into deep community connections?
Question: What rituals have you seen that work well online?