Small towns. I grew up in one, and wish many more folks had that opportunity to really get to know the people in your community. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality in our neighborhoods today, where the urban landscape seems to run unendingly into the horizon.
It was in small towns that communities were, more often than not, strong and supportive. In these small communities, people looked out for each other and most of the time made it easy for people to succeed. You relied on your neighbor because of the challenges and demands that were common to everyone.
For many of us, this kind of community didn’t exist. Or some of us started in those small communities and moved to much, much larger ones. The differences are profound and complex. Large communities tend to seem about numbers rather than people, and coming from an environment where you know everyone to one where you’re lost in the crowd can be overwhelming.
However, we’ve found another way to create unique, small communities that have tremendous value through the Internet. These innumerable, special-interest communities are not unlike small towns. They’re made up of many different individuals with wide-ranging perspectives and experiences, and they are the better for it.
I very much like to compare online communities to those small towns I speak so favorably about. Mainly because they reward the members as they participate and interact with each other. They open up new worlds of opportunity and knowledge that seem daunting at the outset, making friendships and acquaintances easier for many people lost in larger physical communities.
I see a number of small communities I belong to today, each one unique, offering something the others do not. These communities help define and direct who I am and what I do much like the small town I grew up in helped shape my world view and direction in life.
I truly hope you have great experiences with your small communities and help others to discover theirs.
Photo credit: Kodama (home)