Community can be an ambiguous word – It is up for individual interpretation and definition based on what it means to each of us individually to be a PART of a Community. The Definition of Community from Wikipedia is: A community is a social unit of any size that shares common values, or that is situated in a given geographical area (e.g. a village or town).
For the purposes of this article, I’m going to focus on the common VALUES aspect of community. It is more available on a global scale, and it doesn’t limit us to being all in one place or geographical area. We can all benefit from it no matter WHERE we are living.
Social Media is a Toddler that Needs Some Parenting
We’ve seen some of the downsides of social media, but these are learning moments that feed us more information on how to BETTER use it. Learning requires failure to be effective, and the social media phenomenon has not been exempt from this straightforward reality. I’d rather focus on all of the positive it has done to create social change, as explored in this great article by Social Media Professional, Kim Garst.
As human beings, we start out life with a set of basic facilities at our disposal to start working with. We can eat, we can sleep, we can digest food, we can cry – but we still need to learn MANY things before we can become a fully functioning member of our society. I see Social Media as this infant, growing into a toddler, then into a teen and then an adult. And since we are just entering the world of pre-teen using this analogy, it is the best time to start instilling positive values, strong ethics and guidelines for being genuine, authentic and open.
Our Global Community
Community used to be limited to a square footage area – a place that was geographically situated that you were a part of. Now, with the advent and incredible growth of social media, we have the opportunity to start building communities around the world – our Global Community.
We can start conversations we never had before. We can connect to people we would have never connected to before. We can discuss, learn and grow – together. There are no boundaries and borders in social media. We can go wherever we want to go.
According to the article "The Emerging Role of Social Media in Political and Regime Change" by Rita Safranek, the Middle East and North Africa region has one of the most youthful populations in the world, with people under 25 making up between 35-45% of the population in each country. They make up the majority of social media users, including about 17 million Facebook users, 25,000 Twitter accounts and 40,000 active blogs, according to the Arab Advisors Group.
These numbers are incredible and it illustrates the growing conversations that are happening around the world. Furthermore, the percentage of internet users has gone up as well thanks to the closing of the gender gap. According to a survey conducted (in 2015) by Pew Internet Research, internet users among American adults who use at least one social networking site has increased from 10% to 76% since 2005. The split between women and men users has narrowed considerably showing women: 68%, and men: 62%.
This overall increase in use and gender user balance underscores that this medium is becoming a worldwide tool of communication for everyone - no exceptions.
Creating Our Future
With this information, we can now seriously consider what it will take to change our future. Do we want a more sustainable lifestyle? Do we want to end wars? Do we desire a global unity? All of us have our dreams and desires for the evolution of our societies. Now, more than ever, we have the ability to start MAKING these changes as we step outside of our smaller communities and into the global communities available to us now. Communities like B Corp exist now to set a standard, or to set the bar for others to achieve. We can connect to others with similar values, and grow in numbers and strength. We can feel less alone in our endeavors as we access a community online that empowers, shares our values and has a view to the bigger picture. We can actively take a part in creating the future we want to see by engaging and leveraging this incredibly powerful tool in a positive way. HOW we use this power has always been up to us. The more we learn, the more we can strive to create the community we yearn for. Once we start building the home we want to live in, we can welcome others to join us.
Creating our Future is as simple as Building the Community around it. As Sandra Yancey, the co-founder of eWomenNetwork states: “It takes team work to make the dream work”. Social media has become our tool of connection. Now it is up each of us as individuals to utilize it in a way that will support growth, connection and communication. Consider this the next time you make a comment, or share a post. Consider your words carefully and see the bigger picture – does what you are saying align with the future you want to create?
Put the power in your hands, because it has been there all along. Let’s build a positive future together!
Kaare Long is the Creative Director and CEO of a Cue Creative Consulting – a Social Marketing Community Building business for professionals who want to make a change in the world. Kaare has been nominated for numerous community awards, is a member of and online community leader for eWomenNetwork, a top 30 mom blogger writing from the entrepreneur single mom perspective, founder of a local social movement #sayhitoastranger, a singer, performer, boat rocker and all around inspired woman of the world.