Thursday, October 29, 2015

Day 28 Doing Community On-line

I believe the best and most effective community is one that is experienced in the flesh.  Nothing takes the place of face to face encounters with other people.  There is just something about connecting with someone in person where you can see their face and hear the tone in their voice that you just can’t get from an e-mail or most social media platforms.

However, in this day and age, face to face encounters aren’t always possible.  We are a very transient culture so a friend who use to live 1.4 miles away from you may move thousands of miles away and yet you are still connected.   As a military spouse I am all too familiar with having a friend to do coffee and errands with every week that turns into the friend living at least 3 states away.  We still love each other. We still want to do life together and we still want to stay connected.  We desire to continue doing community well together.

So, how do you really stay connected? 

This is where on-line communities come into play.  Whether you are friends in person and interact over social media or you meet on-line and become friends through that venue, on-line communities are popping up everywhere and Tribes are thriving even if everyone in the Tribe or community have not met in person.  Businesses do this all the time with telecommuting so we shouldn’t be surprised that we have perfected this form of connecting in our personal lives.

We are learning that we don’t have to be friends in person to get to know each other and be a part of community. The difference is that we have 24 hour access and we don’t have to drive in traffic to the local coffee shop.  Both face to face communities and on-line communities can be equally rewarding when done well. 

I know many people argue that social media has ruined us as a culture but I don’t see it that way.  Yes, there are serious issues with on-line bullying; pornography; stalking; abductions; etc. However, I still think that when used properly, and with common sense, on-line communities can enhance face to face communities.  I also know that on-line communities can come together in person and real life relationships can flourish.

Here is one example of an on-line relationship coming to life in person:

I have often seen people post about making real life friends through social media. I have not personally ever had such an experience...until now! Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet @mabilder in real life. We were introduced by @tashaandersonyoga who I have not yet met. It is incredible to see God weaving a sweet friendship without even knowing it! I look forward to many more encouraging coffee dates in our future! Welcome to Boerne Michelle!” (Written by Alyssa Mantooth on Facebook in Aug. of 2015)  #igfriendsturnedreallifefriends

I love Alyssa’s story and that I was the one who got to take this photo.  Alyssa and I hardly know each other.  We have met once, at the Boerne Handmade Market, and then bumped into each other at a local restaurant in August where I got to take this picture for her.  I didn’t know the story behind their friendship until I read about it on Facebook.  This is such a sweet example of how on-line communities can meet in person and do equally as well. 

I have several stories like Alyssa’s and I love that those stories have turned into friendships that are still thriving today!!!!  (I will share my personal stories on another post after this 31 Day series is complete.)

Sometimes, due to distance or other circumstances, you are not able to get face to face with people you want to see so you need to get creative through modern technology.  As I mentioned yesterday, in My Tribe Story, I have friends who I do community with via Face Time.  We also have several families that we like to “meet up” with via Skype so we can see the whole family on our smart TV.  And, now, with the creation of Periscope, any of my friends or family can watch my live broadcasts as I share a tip of the day through my bulldogs or when I share what God is doing in my personal life.  When used correctly, modern technology can help us stay connected with those we care about and love. 

Do you have an example of how you use modern technology to stay connected with your Tribe even when they are a million miles away?


Tara Ulrich said...

I agree. I think like anything if we use it in moderation, it can be good. I've been incredibly blessed by meeting people online.

Mary Hill said...

I love that community can be online. We are a community through 31 day Survivors. I have grown close to lovely women who say such supportive things on my blog. I also am enjoying your series and have read most of it. I can't wait to read more examples of people who are thriving in online communities and making great friends.