Community

I know someone who has aspergers (mild form of autism) who in person is difficult to talk to, sometimes awkward and has the ability to ignore you for days on end.  In all fairness, sometimes that is just the person.  Here, thanks to wikipedia (not a general primary source but hey this isn’t a college paper) is a quick description:

Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder, and people with it therefore show significant difficulties in social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation oflinguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical use of language are frequently reported.[1][2]

Now what I noticed about this person, was their ability to communicate via facebook.  I love facebook but I am aware that it creates a false sense of a community and intimacy.  However, I have read more from this person than I probably have ever heard out of their mouth.  Amazing.  Facebook helps this person interact with a world that they would generally have no interest in.  It breaks a barrier.

So for those of us who do not have some sort of medical term to define our social interactions, why are we so heavily reliant on Facebook, tweets, texts, email, etc.  Have we lost our ability to be with people.  Is community something to strive for but never attain.  I’m the last person that wants to be hugged but it does feel good to let people in.

I was watching NCIS online tonight.  (lover of cop shows) I know that most shows now have boards that you can post to but it is called Community.  The word is getting as overused as LOVE.

A definition.. as taken from dictionary.com

–noun, plural -ties.

1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
2. a locality inhabited by such a group.
3. a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually prec. by the): the business community; the community of scholars.
4. a group of associated nations sharing common interests or a common heritage: the community of Western Europe.
5. Ecclesiastical. a group of men or women leading a common life according to a rule.
6. Ecology. an assemblage of interacting populations occupying a given area.
7. joint possession, enjoyment, liability, etc.: community of property.
8. similar character; agreement; identity: community of interests.

They all involve interaction.  Common.  Interests.  Living.  I think community is the idea that we have things to share.  But the more we do it away from each other, we loose connection to who we are and who we are communicating to.  We start to loose a little of ourselves, no matter how many of our favorite books and movies we type in.

So will I get rid of my facebook, probably not.  I like an easy way to contact people.  It just won’t be a replacement for actually seeing them or spending long distance time on the phone.  After all, I did just move 2.5 hours away- there are a lot of people to miss.  I like tweeting– probably because I like instant gratification.  And I like texting.  But I must strive to have community with people in real time, perhaps at Starbucks, sounds good right now.

I’m looking forward to getting to know the people at Grace, the people that work at my local coffee shop, the people in my neighborhood, the people at the gym.  I’m looking forward to summer farmer’s markets and dog parks and everything in between.  Sometimes you have to look a little for community but it is worth it.  We were not created to do this life alone or sitting behind a computer screen.

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