I’ve been keeping tabs on a lot of interesting efforts to create community, both in real life and online. I think that creating community is key to behavior change, and behavior change, as I have said before, is key to just about everything.
One thing which has interested me is the Kimkins scandal. Kimkins is a very low-calorie diet plan promulgated primarily through a website, Kimkins.com. When looked at objectively, the Kimkins plan is completely nuts. It’s low calorie enough to wreck your metabolism, and makes no nutritional sense. The people doing the diet, though, are committed to the community of which they are part.
It has turned out that the woman who created the diet has no nutritional background, and did not in fact lose all the weight she claimed to have lost. There are pro-Kimkins sites to be found, such as this one, and a plethora of anti–Kimkins websites. On both sides, what everyone is most intense about is the Kimkins community. Was it betrayed? Is it in denial and needs to be saved?
The community in question is a web-forum, but it has created a passion, and an impact on human behavior that is more than many geographical places could. Wouldn’t it be amazing to harness community power like that to create positive change?