I don’t like crowds and I am too impatient to be a good queue-er, so why did i stand in line this morning in order to get an armband that gives me the privilege of standing in line AGAIN tonight at midnight to buy the new Harry Potter book?

The answer i think is also the answer to the question of what makes a community FEEL like a community.

The answer is — shared experience.

Not long ago we were watching focus groups with list members of a particular group. In trying to gauge the level of affinity or connection these folks had with organizations who send them email, we asked them which if any email lists they were on made them feel like they were part of a community.

The answer was Moveon.org.

Not because the moveon emails were more compelling than others — they weren’t.

Not because they cared more about Moveon’s issues — they didn’t.

Its because Moveon had a “foxhole” feel to it — a sense of common beleaguerment (this was before the 2006 elections). A SHARED EXPERIENCE.

Buying HP7 tonight in person lets me share the mix of poignancy and anticipation that surrounds this last chapter of an epic tale that has gone on for a decade.

I don’t think it takes a wizard to figure out the lesson for those of us in the communications biz.