Community.

Interestingly, when I took this photo, I smiled at the woman who stopped so I could take the shot, and we talked for a moment about what an interesting piece of…art? Social engineering? Media hype? Whatever. it is, we talked about it.

I’ve been seeing this at the bus stop for about a week, now, and it’s been poking my brain about the concept of community. It’s a hard to define concept. There are a lot of issues about people and space in those posters, and I think those questions are important. But here’s what made me think:

‘Community’ used to mean the physicality of being together, but no longer does it denote sharing actual space. Online communities are very real and, I think, beneficial.

Oh, you see articles about how the internet isolates us, and how it keeps us from interacting with the people around us, but I don’t see that. For me, anyhow. Without email/blogs/Facebook, I would have no idea what my closest, oldest friends were doing. Time together is nice, but less and less possible. Phone calls are good, but work/children/stuff makes it hard to find times to chat. When I do get together with friends I’ve known for longer than it takes to have a child reach adulthood, it is precious to me, but having the internet is a good substitute.

Then there are the communities that are strictly online. Just because I have never physically met many of my photo-a-day Flickr contacts does not make them, or me, any less a part of our community. I know about Ulli’s soft spot for stray animals in Spain, and Beff’s new nail polish. I know Raynah got a gorgeous haircut in Birmingham. I cherish knowing those things.

Wikipedia tells me that ‘community’ is derived from the Latin: ‘communitas (cum, “with/together” + munus, “gift”)’

The gift that brings us together? Yes. I think so.

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