Earlier this week, I posted about cultivating community. In the comments section, it quickly became obvious that I had missed something. I had neglected to define community. Are people who gathering and exchange thoughts and ideas online really a community?
Here’s their definition of community:
Main Entry: com·mu·ni·tyPronunciation: \kə-ˈmyü-nə-tē\Function: nounInflected Form(s): plural com·mu·ni·tiesUsage: often attributiveEtymology: Middle English comunete, from Anglo-French communité, from Latin communitat-, communitas, from communisDate: 14th century
1 : a unified body of individuals: as a : state, commonwealth b : the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly : the area itself <the problems of a large community> c : an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location d : a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society <a community of retired persons> e : a group linked by a common policy f : a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests <the international community> g : a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society <the academic community>
2 : society at large
Is it just me or do you sometimes put away your dictionary more confused than ever about a word’s meaning? Since Webster’s couldn’t provide an easy answer…how do YOU define community?
For me I think “community” is all about a group of people uniting around common passions. And let’s be honest, there are A LOT of things people are passionate about.. fantasy football, running, Alabama football, sewing, comic books, churches, The Grateful Dead, the outdoors, the Amish, college basketball, the Bible…just to name a few.
Web 2.0 technologies allow us to find, and gather with, people down the street, across town, or on the other side of the world who share our passions. We no longer are constricted by geography. Our online communities are not hindered by physical boundaries.
And from what I have experienced, when a group of people are united behind feeding the hungry, praying for the sick, holding one another accountable to His standard, or even just walking through life together, a very powerful and intimate community is created. And it makes no difference if they are physically in the same location or online.