virtual Community?

What is community?

Is it dependent on geography?

How is it created, sustained?

I found this post about community. It defines community as: "a group of people who form relationships over time by interacting regularly around shared experiences, which are of interest to all of them for varying individual reasons."

But he goes on to say, and I'd have to agree, that online community seems to be driven almost wholly by passion/interest, while physical communities seem to be less about passion and more about shared experience and commonality.

This has me thinking about passion and the communities in which I interact. Church, blogs, family, neighborhood...

What communities are you a part of?


2 Responses to "virtual Community?"

Kevin said... December 2, 2008 at 2:52 PM

Well, I think these assumptions aren't necessarily accurate. Online communities develop as much around commonality as do physical communities. The element missing in all this conversation is the human need/desire/draw to care for each other. Look at all of the blog communities and FB communities out there, they may have joined based on a passion or an interest, but they stay connected because over time they begin to care for the people there. Just like physical communities.

Another thought... if you move to a new house, you are automatically a member of a community. You may choose not to participate, or participate very little, but you are still a member based on geography. Over time, you will probably develop relationships with people in this community and begin to care for them. All the while, passion for one thing or another may never drive the community.

This guy's example of passion for something being the driving force of a community reminds me of guys who only talk sports. We all know this guy. All of his relationships center around sports, ESPN, his favorite team... all of his conversations, thoughts, and life experiences relate to sports. This is a great way to start a relationship because there is a common point of interest and talking points. But over time, very few people want to simply talk about sports. Most of us have other interests and need the conversation to move beyond that. In the same way, an online community may start around a passion but I don't think the passion can sustain most communities. Sports talk radio is the obvious exception...

Keith said... December 2, 2008 at 3:16 PM

Good points. I think that something that I assumed but haven't fully explored was that passion is the driving force behind introduction to the community. Real "community" as you've described it is a natural result of the time factor.
The more you're around a group, the more you care - or else you leave...

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