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#reverb10: The search for community

Where do you find community?

That’s today’s #reverb10 prompt:

Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

You would think that this one would be easy. I ended up spending most of the morning trying to figure out an answer.

Mitch Snyder 1943-1990. dbking/FlickrI think it’d be safe to say that I spent most of 2010 and will spend 2011 looking for a community where I feel like I fit in. I stumbled across a statement today in another post based on our prompt that rings true with me: I want to belong to a community and not just contribute to it.

This isn’t to say that I didn’t find new people or groups along the way this year. What I guess I long for is that day when I don’t feel the need to bottle up a few moments to access often as a tonic but have many moments that I can reflect on simply to smile.

Digitally I’ve continued to reach out and add to a network of people who I like to learn from and talk with, though you can’t get a hug or just say you want a cup of coffee or a beer with only a moment’s notice (at least relatively speaking). I look to the digital world as a vehicle to make it easier to connect instead of a substitute. Several projects, including #reverb10, have exposed to new people and conversations that give me more opportunities to find new communities to join.

Like I said though, I did find community this year:

  • Via phone calls out of the blue from Ike Pigott that led to a project or two out of the blue while money remains tight.
  • With Bert Pitts and a once in a lifetime chance to watch a no-hitter in Atlanta in person while getting a chance to escape the rest of the world for only a day.
  • In conversations with Elaine and Michael Rohr, providing more support than they’ll ever know.
  • From Michelle McLellan and those who I got to talk to in Chicago letting me know that I’m not nearly as crazy as I think I am.
  • With Will Johnson and the crew at his mother’s house as I was reminded of many great moments that revolve around rum cake.
  • With those who met for coffee not feeling like it was an obligation but a chance to get together and talk (or at least let me vent).
  • On Friday afternoons at The Red Cat.

Perhaps it’s too loose of a definition that I’m using, considering that sometimes I can feel a part of a community while talking with just one person. It’s better than being alone though (paraphrasing from a certain performer’s signature song).

I’ll never be able to join a new community without meeting new people, so one of the goals for the coming year is to continue to find new ways to meet people and reach out just a little farther than I’m normally comfortable doing. I’d also like to learn more about and become active if possible with To Write Love On Her Arms.

Finally, I’m hoping to have a leadership role with the local Jaycees chapter. I’d like to use it as a way for those of us who can’t always answer the ice breaker question “Which high school did you go to?” with one in metro Birmingham to work on new ways of developing leaders with all of the tools necessary to be successful while helping them feel as though they truly belong to a group of friends.

All of this is probably too much to ask, but having a community to turn to in both goods time and bad should be possible and accessible for everyone, shouldn’t it?

Where did you find community this year? I’m looking forward to the responses.


Photo: Mitch Snyder 1943-1990. dbking/Flickr

Published inLife

it should be possible...i think in a strange way, the internet has created a whole new way for that to be attainable. even though it is not always as personal as face to face contact, it opens up an entire world of possibility. jump in when you see a place you'd like to be. what's the worst that could happen?

Kind thanks for linking to my words. It would seem that communities are like a pair of jeans....we keep trying them on until a pair fits well enough to keep.

Emily Jones Rushing
Emily Jones Rushing

I am loving these comments and am so glad you are taking time to think about these challenging topics. TIme to think is hard to come by and good words are precious too. So thank you for contributing both. As for community, it's not just where I work, it's what I long for everywhere I go. When I meet new people and gain new connections, it's a good day. And when I see people I already know and build on those connections, that's a good day too.

Crysta Anderson
Crysta Anderson

I love that you included another #reverb10 post's point about contributing to community rather than just belonging. It's a really important distinction. I was also struck by your statement, "sometimes I can feel a part of a community while talking with just one person" - exactly right. Community is what you make of it, whether it's just two people sharing a passion or an entire town or congregation. It doesn't matter how big the community is; rather, it's about sharing that spark and rallying behind a cause or need.

I completely think community is possible and accessible for everyone. We just have to be open to it - and willing to contribute.


It's so true how the online community can be an amazing thing but it's not quite the same as having someone in person.

I was fortunate enough to find community both online and off through joining a couple of teams, entering different projects and challenges. I'm a bit of a loner (and kind of like it that way) but the online community is a lovely happy medium for me.