Changing expression ‘community’

Growing up, the email we take for granted today wasn’t mainstream–not until high school, anyway. Community essentially referred to one’s neighborhood, church, or possibly small town. You knew your neighbors and they knew you. Of course, you always hoped to receive a letter or postcard from family or friends afar, but given the time for mail to travel the postal system, such correspondence was typically considered to be outside one’s community experience. Community was by-in-large local with respect to geography.

Nowadays, community has a much broader meaning and in some cases one that seems almost inverted. We can’t wait for snail mail–only email will do. (A text message or IM is even better, thanks!) We chat with folks from who-knows-where and don’t know the couple next door. Community has become by-in-large local with respect to shared interests.

At what cost is this change taking place?

The world continues to shrink when it comes to connecting people together in the large, yet in the small the opposite seems to be true. Home becomes a place of isolation, not refuge. Community becomes more controlled and less spontaneous–caller ID, safe lists, etc. are the order of the day.

I wonder what the next generation will have to say about community