Posted on Sunday, 16 April, 2006 by


So a lot of it all centers around community making. For a community to form, attracting and retaining members is key. So careful logging of why we become member of a certain community, when we feel that we ´belong´, when it is that a feeling of community starts, can give us some clues about community making. Am I part of my local community?

Yes, for I live and work here, barter with the neighbours, and frequent the local cafes. No, defenitely not completely for it is a rural portugese village with about 200 inhabitants, the average age must be 65 and I think we have the only internet connection in the village.

work orchard

The neighbour and my son at work in the orchard demonstrate our contrasts.

From being abroad I have learned that to feel connected, speaking the same language is key. (That is why I try so hard to learn the jargon.)

So community making is about having things in common, recognition, trust. Community making requires networking skills (as Bevery quotes Anecdote in her post "a social networking mindset") but community is not only about including, also about setting yourself apart from ´the rest´; excluding.

During my early student years, I was an active member of a student association. It felt like home to us: safe, smug, “us” as different from “them”. It went as far as labeling any outsider; we´ld name them ´knorren´. Within the community great heights were achieved in terms of sharing, learning, fun. It was often difficult to explain this to outsiders: “They” don´t understand these things, we would tell each other. I also remember from being a student, meeting almost exclusively other students, effective communication with others (non-students), even parents, became harder.

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