To just get it out there: thoughts on community

To just get it out there: thoughts on community

The unlikelihood of community.

The idea of community seems oddly outdated. Where individualistic values rule, traditional frameworks loose their grip, and an impenetrable mess of identities, philosophies and styles should result. All things in common would dwindle down to an absolute zero, a point at which one language is understood by one person, and one person only. This would be a very limited, trapped existence.

What’s there to counter hyper-individualism? There’s no way we’re returning to life-plans predetermined by family, religion or gender. But sliding towards cultural absolute zero is equally absurd. Instead, communities of interest emerge, less binding, less constant than the geographical and rigid communities our poor ancestors were strapped to for a lifespan.

A global network recognizes and connects the faintest synchronicity of interests, matches similar words in strange dialects and says: “If you like A, you might wanna say hi to B”. Our communities are voluntary, temporary, and found when asked for.

3 Replies to “To just get it out there: thoughts on community”

  1. i disagree with your priority of categorizing community types. unlike animal taxonomy the rate of evolution is too fast to label. i held on to a theory that once a community reached a threshold membership, its survival was assured. myspace™ proved me wrong and is now on my endangered species list. my new theory is that left to their own devices, all online communities will demise. the role of a community manager is not only to wrangle the herd, but also to inject activity by skillfully and minimally manipulating the membership without their awareness. the community manager does not need to be a true sentient being. i am a proponent of automated managers.

  2. Hey there! did you mean this in reply to the typology post?

    You’re right with saying evolution is very fast! any typology can only be a temporary one, there’s lots of hybrids and communities can have multiple purposes and spread across multiple online manifestations. Still, I think there’s the need to have some common vocabulary to build on when discussing online communities.

    What do you by automated managers? Looking at the community I manage, I don’t think automated managers would work. We have a very personal way of communicating with members, and I think that’s important to them. Some tasks – such as notifications or perhaps basic support questions – could be automated to increase efficiency, but this can’t replace individual interactions.

    1. part of that was aimed at the typology post. by the time universal terminology is accepted, it is already outdated. what we need are accepted archetypes as common ground. in literature studies, we often make comparisons to shakespeare or the judeochristian bible. in language studies we force ourselves to make comparisons to latin, even when talking about chinese dialects.

      as for automated managers, don’t your managers work from a protocol which was prediscussed? sometimes there’s even a standard script of responses. i could easily fool members with robot managers to stroke their egos and scold their outbursts. conversely, i believe i could create automated members whom you could not recognise in the crowd. robots with personalities and agendas; designed to activate when certain topics are discussed or not discussed.