Mack has a great post on what makes a "successful" community. He focuses on the efforts of Pat Coyle who is asking the difficult marketing and business questions around social networking — what does success look like? And perhaps, if it were to walk up and bite us, would we recognise it for what it is?
As I was reading Mack’s post, it started to remind me of my early childhood and the sense of community that was in place around my Nanna’s house. She as an old-fashioned Nanna … she knew all the neighbours (and probably knew their business), she knew the streets and who lived where and how the families fitted together. She knew whose children my father played with, their mothers, fathers and grandparents. It was where she belonged.
When I would visit, everyone in the street would wave and look out for me. They knew who I was by who I was connected to.
Years later I visited my old school on the weekend to play basketball with my sister. In the distance I could hear my name being called. I thought I was hearing things … I looked around but could see no one. We kept playing.
But the voice was persistent. G-a-a-a-v-i-i-n …
Across the playground and way down the street there was a man yelling to me. He was older, much older, than I … and I did not recognise him. Slowly I walked towards him wondering who he was and how he knew me. He could tell I was confused. Up close his face was still a blank canvas to me. "Sid Shannon", he said. "Ahh" … he was a friend’s father — his daughter was born the day after me in the same ward.
"How did you know it was me?", I asked. "Oh, I would know you anywhere", he replied.
I looked like my family. And time and distance was not going to change that.
Do you know where you belong? How do you know? What are the pointers to this? And how do you own it?
Perhaps "old" is the new, new … and social media is igniting not the desire for connection but ENABLING the reconnections between people.