i’ve been involved in community all my life, we all have to some extent. i’ve particularly been involved in online community since being a part of developing and running of the common ground bulletin board in 1992. during that time i’ve seen a group of disparate people find new ways of connecting and communicating, with others, seen the community grow and flourish, and then dissipate – I hope not back to where they came from (disconnectedness) but into a different community, somewhere, somehow.
once upon a time communities were a geographic concept. they involved people with with the same interest, mostly the place they lived. with telecommunications connecting people, communities moved online. they were communities based on interest rather than communities of location. still, in the early days, of bulletin board services and low data rates, they were still geo-centric.
the new communities of the internet age are still communities based on interest but are becoming more geo-diverse, more virtual. and the focus is shifting from the medium (BBS, Internet, Portal) to the message (Interest, Knowledge, Education).
in the knowledge economy i guess this is good. i just can’t escape this feeling though that somehow in the rush the focus has shifted to the individual gathering things (knowledge), rather than going places to where people are (connecting). that somehow there’s been a fragmenting of community feel – of belonging.
once communities were communities of people. now all I hear of is communities of interest. where have all the people gone?
then again, perhaps I just haven’t found my neo-community.