by Donna Messer
What Does a “Sense of Community” Mean Today?
Think about it a little. When the “now boomers” got off work as a young adult you would probably go home, call some friends and get together to enjoy a cup of tea, a movie, a game of scrabble or to just talk. You all lived in the same community, so getting together was simple.
What’s happening to this generation?
They get home and instead of calling friends, they type in their user name and pass code and log on to Facebook. Is our
sense of community, that face to face connection being lost?
The argument that the community is dying is a common one. Older generations see pot luck suppers, church groups and community centers as their community. Today’s young people are saying their communities are still very much alive and well; they’re simply changing.
People gathering is still around, what’s changing is the format in which today’s generation does it. They no longer get together physically and talk about their day.
Today, everyone logs on and says, ‘Hey, what’s happening?’” As a sign of just how imbedded social networking has become; Mark Zuckerberg has recently been named “Time’s Person of the Year”. http://bit.ly/hrkDLn
Zuckerberg is the founder of Facebook and succeeded in ushering in this new way to connect to community; this new way stretches far beyond a conventional, physical location, today’s community has taken new heights, it’s now on a digital and global scale.
Despite concerns, experts say this new community is actually a fairly healthy and beneficial alternative. A study done at Carnegie Mellon University found that greater social networking site activity is associated with increased social capital and reduced loneliness. Today, a strong Facebook network is a predictor of social well-being in the real world.
How can those of us from past generations learn from and utilize this new community?
Face-to-face communication involves commonly understood facial expressions and tones; put those same conversations online and they’re stripped of personal touches, causing communication breakdowns.
We have to adapt to this “new neighborhood”. We can learn to better express ourselves; using emoticons, symbols representing expressions and feelings. Local colleges are developing web rules called netiquette to reduce online communication mishaps. We might want to enroll!
As we exist online more and more, we will develop more skills to be able to communicate how we want to communicate. It’s really relationship building 101 for the on line community. If you’re not maximizing your on line presence, you just might be missing out on some great new friends. This new virtual community hasn’t replaced my existing face to face one; it’s simply given me a whole new perspective in the Art of Effecting Networking! See you on Facebook and LinkedIn!
Networking Expert, International Speaker