The value of community

Community is a word that has been tossed around for ages, it is often undefined and nebulous. The reason for the lack of definition is due to the fact that community exists in so many forms that it defies simple description. Local , online , global , like-minded and on ad nauseum. Though a singular definition often escapes us the value of it does not; it is nigh impossible for anyone to claim that community is not important to everyone. Even ascetic monks rely on the work of their brothers for sustenance and existence, with out their community their lifestyle would be impossible. To raise a child, start a business, or play a game people need community to be successful.

Those wishing to employ social media to their advantage must realize that community is is the single most important ingredient. Community is something that must be built, somewhat organically, over time and authentically. Someone asked me once “How can you create authenticity?” The answer is simple; you can’t. People and companies can be clever with their strategy, masking their efforts to create the authentic experience but it almost always ends in dissatisfaction. The name of this site is an homage to the fact that one must exist in and work for the betterment of a community if anything is to be authentic. Authenticity has another name “Cred”, and cred can’t be manufactured or purchased; you have to live it to earn it.

Often people will try to insert themselves or their brand into a community, online or otherwise. These people will often muse, about their woes stemming from their inability to gain the reach acquired by those who are established. I can’t help but chuckle at this when it happens. A new blog, podcast, website, or business sees opportunity in a new group and wants to bring their special brand into the mix; only to have a less than stellar impact even though their ideas were solid and their work had value.

For a community to exist in an authentic way there are values that must be shared.

  • Truth – even the most simple truth can bind people together. Something common must be true though, and people must agree on something. If nothing is true then dialogue would break down into arguments of semantics.
  • Meaning – Certain issues must ring true for everyone in the community, if meaning of key ideas can’t be agreed upon constant arguments often result.
  • Value – There must be something central to the community that most if not all members share. In a church is it belief in a higher power, in the gaming community it is simply the value and impact of games.
  •  Communication – With out being able to communicate values, truth or meaning community could never even begin.
Communication is often how people view social media. To them it is solely a means to interact with other people. I don’t argue that this is not true, but that it is not the whole truth. Social media is a way to build community not just communicate with those in it. Values can be determined, truth can be agreed upon, meaning can be established all through social media. It can be far more than just a way to get a message across. Those who have experienced this can attest to the fact that communities have been built and thrived through mediums such as facebook, Twitter, and the like.
The whole point of this is to show that those who do not share in a community will often find it hard to add anything to it. They will only be communicating a message while missing out on truth, meaning, value, and other core tenants of community. If social media is your vocation then the following saying is true of you “No cred no bread.” Trying to inject your self in an existing community only because you have the tools to do so will be like bouncing bullets off a brick wall.

 

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