Definition of community (merriam-webster.com)
2 a: a social state or condition; b: joint ownership or participation; c: common character ; d: social activity; 3: society at large
(More details on rules of engagement are here, and the 2019 submissions are here).
Huddle 1 – In the first huddle, discussion ranged across ideas for investing in knowing the community before the bad times, so we are ready for those bad times. Can we gamify community formation? How do we connect people in remote areas, deal with local issues? is there a connection between the life cycle and the deployment of social media? A theme which recurred throughout the day was the importance of the ‘after worship’ chats in a community, the decline of the Mass / after Mass chats at the church gate was mentioned as a variable. The strongest theme point emerging early in the day was that there are very many meaning for the word community (as seen by reading the blog posts submitted by attendees on that topic).
Huddle 2 – this discussion centred on communities working towards a purpose – ranging from agile use of online communities for education, social justice and activism, journalism, the ‘Overton Window’ concept leading to a discussion of the contrast between being a customer and a citizen. The importance of being clear about purpose was deemed as the most important need for a community, but the one most often missing or skipped over.
Huddle 3 – this discussion ranged from rural Africa to rural Ireland. We listened to the story of the growing of a community of computer science educators across rural Africa, supported initially by philanthropy but increasingly being left in supported local hands; a success story centred on obvious need . This contrasted with the description of the visible decline in many rural Irish towns. Examples of how some communities have countered this were cited – communities, many helped in their transformation by the energy of some “blow-in” volunteers, who leverage the energy of the school-gate community, communities who carry out an appreciative inquiry as a starter activity upon which to make a plan.
Huddle 4 – this huddle centred at first on the story of the bee colony – we learned a lot about life of the queen, workers, and drones in the community of the hive! We also spoke of the difference between face to face and online communities, and how they differ. Stepping back from the ‘milestone validated’ community was also a topic; and it took us into discussion of the importance of learning to develop self-acceptance and prioritise it above acceptance by others in our community – something which was agreed can take many of us a lifetime.
The recurring theme of the four talks around community that I experienced can be summed up thus:
community is contextual, it is important that the purpose of each community is clearly defined and declared.
Throwing my chairing notes into a word cloud generator returned this talk bubble … problems and solutions swapped, cares and concerns shared, over a hundred people gone back to their home communities richer in spirit than when they left. It can only be a good thing.
See you next November, whatever the topic.