I’ve been pondering the concept of community lately, and I’ve come up with this hypothesis. I’m sure I’m not the first person to think about this, and I’m working on the research to back it up. But for now, here are my raw thoughts.
1. God created us with a desire to live in community. He made us in His image. And as He is in community with the Trinity, we desire to be in community.
2. Our social structure used to be more community-focused. Work was shared, you knew your neighbors, people watched out for each other.
3. Industrialization hit, cities grew and the concept of the “American dream” was born. People began to “look out for number one” and individualism began to replace the concept of community. Technological advances like cars, automated garage doors, television, cell phones, etc began to interrupt community living and further allow people to live in isolation.
4. People still craved community, so when the internet took the world by storm online communities, chatting, internet dating, etc grew rapidly.
Personally, I have friends via my blog whom I might never have met in “real” life. I feel connected to them, am challenged and encouraged by them and have a sense of community. But I wonder if virtual community has its limitations, and although fulfills the idea of community to an extent, can never really replace community found in face to face relationship. Being a part of a virtual community gives me control over how much I want to participate in the community, how much I want to reveal of myself while a physical community does not.
So my question to you is this: how do you define community and is the concept of virtual community only a facade of “real” community?
Related Link: Special Effect – LL Barkat