It's one of those words that get bandied around a ton. Yet it wasn't until this past July that someone asked me to tangify* it.
I was sitting there in class with my two discussion buddies, coming up with some decent responses. Well, it's a group of people that are connected to each other in some way and they provide support and solidarity to each other and the group as a whole. It sounded good and when the two minutes was up, I was pretty pleased to turn back to the larger group and give our report.
Then our facilitator started to say his idea of the word. He prefaced it with the fact that he's disagreed with people on this before and that he's open to alternative opinions. He then said that he believed a community had to be grounded in a physical location, preferable a small one.
Everyone in that room sat in silence for a fraction of a moment and that thought rolled around in my mind. What immediately came to mind was Nerdfighteria but I tried to keep myself open and not shut his words down on the spot.
He went on to say that the word community is so commonplace that people confuse the meaning. And the things it is used to describe are definitely relevant and important, but he believes that community is not the right word for them.
Now, this facilitator, by the name of Matt Hern, is someone I really admire. He's a very cool guy and I agree with his opinions on many accounts. But after a while I decided that I disagreed on this matter and that actually felt really great. Months later, I'm still savouring that feeling. Maturity, maybe.
I'm not writing this to seek consolation or disagreement. It's the internet, there's tons of those things everywhere. I guess I just wanted to acknowledge that, though over and over I've been let bias rule my thoughts and actions, this one time I did the best I could to evaluate from a different side before solidifying my opinion. I'm seeing it as a personal triumph.
Maybe community is a word that's thrown around too much. But who can say that the support and connection that I've felt on the internet and specifically through Nerdfighteria isn't as really as the solidarity I've felt through my next door neighbours? Community might not be the right word for some people but it's the right word for me.
I'm going to sleep now. I'm not sure if this blog is classified as a community but I'm glad to be a part of whatever this little group of three is. :)
*Not a word, huh? I'll give you scwiggly lines, Blogger. Don't test me!