Friday, July 13, 2007

Community is a web... its not solely a physical web!

Our social fabric is in danger of being ripped to shreds as we swap electronic connection for personal relationships. The very nature of community depends upon us being connected to one another. Being civil means, or at least used to mean, valuing our relationships beyond our immediate circle of family and friends. If upon leaving home we immerse ourselves in idle chatter on the phone, listen to music nonstop at volume levels that preclude hearing the world around us, read every piece of e-mail sent since the last time we checked, or hunt for bargains on the Internet, we miss the chance on the way to work to make new friendships, renew old ones, or simply say hello to a stranger. A community is not merely a collection of individuals. It is a web—the kind with a small "w"—of interconnectedness, and this web cannot exist for long if each of its constituents is concerned primarily or exclusively with itself.
Ethics and the iPhone by Bruce Weinstein, PhD

OMGoodness... Its the end of the world as we know it!!! but hey... wait a minute... I feel fine!?!

The concept of community is changing... Here's a fab example of this::
When members of the Lotus Esprit online forum website heard, they donated money and time to fix it.
Let me get that straight... hmm... members of an online forum. Online... remote... electronic... and yet a community in its truest... most real sense.
"I can't even begin to thank all the people who were involved. It just restores your faith in people and shows that there is good in everybody," he said.
Community is about connection... no longer solely physical connection... Its rubbish to say the world is going to end (OK... I paraphrase) because of tools such as the iPhone that can help us connect further with our community.

Maybe the very people the iPhone user is chattering idly with is his / her community? I have 54 friends on Facebook... (again I am not boasting here but stating a fact) I consider them just as important a part of my social fabric than my next door neighbour... who, btw, is new to the street and I haven't had a chance to speak to him yet (Olly has though).

Maybe they are more important to my social make up? I have the email and mobile number of people in parts of the world that I may never go to... and yet I don't know the surnames of some of the folk in my cul-de-sac.

Don't get me wrong... physical connection is extremely important. Church works best when people come together... but to say this is the only way to build community is naive in my humble opinion.

Community is a web... its not solely a physical web!

Oh and I can do most of what the iPhone can do already... and I still manage to say "hi" to my neighbours when I walk to work.

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