I was watching Fox News the other day, I don’t remember what show it was but the commentator was talking about community. He said that a community revolved around his neighbors and people that resided within a certain proximity to his physical location. According to Wikipedia: “Traditionally a ‘community’ has been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location.” This made me think about all of the people that I’m connected with online and all of my readers/friends. I haven’t met most of you and we definitely don’t reside in the same physical location, but I definitely still consider us a community.
I think it’s time we move away from defining a community as anything having to do with a physical presence at all. Sure that can be a factor, but in my mind a community is a collection or group of people that interact and share something in common. A community is actually best defined by the person being associated with a particular community. For example, I may be associated with the nob hill community in san francisco, however, if you were to ask me if I feel like a part of the community, I would say “no,” at least not yet.
The word “interaction” is also crucial in defining a community. I don’t think it’s right to classify a group of people who happen to be living next to each other as a community unless they actually interact with one another and act as a community. By the same token I wouldn’t say that just because I have 2,500+ twitter followers that they are all a part of my community. As a default they are a part of my “twitter” community but there are still many people from those 2,500 that I have yet to interact with. I suppose it’s a bit of a tricky subject because I have to assume that all 2,500+ people are reading my tweets and following my conversations, so technically that is a form of interaction, but I am just not aware of it.
Perhaps the definition of a community can be something as simple as:
“A collection or group of people who have something in common and interact?”
How do you define “community?”