Sunday, 6 June 2010

Community Building, Why's and Culture.

It isn't possible to build a community just because it is something you want. A community is a group of people who grow up (growth being the operative word here) around a central idea, job, location, and the most enduring ones are those where the central idea is bigger than the individual.

This is not just theory, I have spent 7 years in different communities where soul searching and navel examination was a weekly or daily occurrence. The successful ones were groups who worked on the land, where animals and crops needed the individual ego to be put to one side for the sake of the survival of the core idea. Others were therapeutic communities for people with various difficulties where the same selflessness could be called on from time to time.

Just living in a particular town doesn't make you a part of the community, and just logging on doesn't make you part of a virtual community.

Wikipedia lists three main uses of the word culture:

a) Excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities, also known as high culture
b) An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
c) The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organisation or group

Now it is particularly the third point here that is going to make or break a community because without it we are just a bunch of people....
....and I am going to pick out values and goals as a sort of central starting point... for, if the Central Organisation has as its values and goals to get the maximum financial return from its group members, if that is Why the Boys do what they do...well, consumerism is by any definition greed made culture....then this ship will sink.

The Why of the central organisation/authority is the most important thing in this discussion, not why individuals log on.... that has got to be as diverse as ...(some very diverse thing)...

Why, oh why, oh why the Boys think I come online to stand in grubby malls waiting for grey things to rezz so I can fill my inventory with more crummy totally beyond me. It is their wishful thinking, their 'why'. It might be projection from their RL's onto my SL... but it is misguided and mistaken.

Luckily there are places, new, pioneering grids, where the central Why is to provide an optimum creative environment for those who want to participate in the building of a new grid....and that may be enough 'glue' to stick a community together for a number of years...

..the fact that people find others with "shared attitudes" is, I would guess, however, what keeps us all coming back, our friends. I love creating and I love my friends, it's as easy as that....(well...and the "psychology of virtual existence").

Now, as I mentioned before, Avatar Identity is something that is a real shared experience and as such makes us into a community because we are different to Members of The General Public in that we have had this experience and most people haven't..

So...the people that read these blogs, the people that ask these types of questions, you, me.... We are a community, simply because we care enough to try an exercise a few brain cells....because we are looking for "set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices" amongst other things...

As Maeve said so clearly the other night we are like a periphery looking for a centre.. but I feel quite strongly that it is this looking that unites us.

The only truly interesting exploration is that of the psyche.

Know Yourself.........yep... one day I hope to.



  1. good post, and i wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Carrie... I think it is like a growing point for us all ...this asking about who we are and what we do. It's an identity thing and I welcome it wholeheartedly.