Community – The Sense of Belonging #70 #cong19

Synopsis:

Communities come in a variety of forms but each one has one thing in common – a sense of belonging.

Whether it’s a community of interest, geography, circumstance or profession, each community all over the world has people who come together and support each other, in both good and bad times.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Community can mean something different to everyone
  2. You can become part of a community overtime without even realising it
  3. In the current age, digital communities are growing increasingly popular
  4. People can be part of different types of communities that can at times overlap.

About Aine Mc Manamon:

A digital marketing enthusiast with a love for networking, Áine has worked in various digital marketing and e-commerce roles over the past five years. She is passionate about email marketing, having a consistent brand across all channels and designing suitable social media imagery for campaigns.

One of the Co-Founders and the Current Chair of Digital Marketing Mayo, Áine will also become the JCI Mayo President for 2020, where she plans to focus on community and business events as well as personal development training for the members.

Contacting Aine Mc Manamon:

You can follow Aine on Twitter, see her on Instagram, connect with her on LinkedIn or send her an email.

By Aine Mc Manamon

If you’d asked me 10 plus years ago what the word community meant to me, it would have created some bitterness and ill feeling. To me at that time, a community was symbolic of neighbors overstepping their mark and that small town vibe of everyone knowing your business, and asking a million and one questions, whether you wanted them to or not.

But now I have a drastically different outlook on what that word means and it fills me with warmth to be part of numerous communities. Perhaps I’ve grown wiser over the years. Or maybe from my travels I see things from a different perspective. Whatever it may be, this is my simple take on community.

Community first reminds me of home and familiarity – family, neighbours and friends that I’ve had since I was born. I now admire the way a community comes together in times of sorrow, in times of need and in times of joy. In rural Ireland, all it takes is just one phone call and then everyone rallies around in whatever the circumstances. While this may have irritated me in the past, where I couldn’t understand why people had to get involved in everything, I can now see that it’s people looking after each other and I’ve grown to love this caring environment.

Community provides the feeling that you belong. After moving to the U.S. I noticed that I was instantly attracted to anything Irish, and that was very easy to find over there. There was a wide Irish community as a whole who were all very welcoming and helpful in the transition. The longer I spent in this community, the more I noticed that there were also breakout communities – Irish in business, Irish involved in fashion, those who went along to music and dancing sessions, GAA clubs etc. From being apart of these groups, it was like having a home away from home.

While I was very fortunate to be involved in this large community and feeling a connection to home, I also wanted to experience different cultures and adventures. Having the opportunity to get to know different people in the area I lived in, from shop owners to taxi drives, I found that without realizing it, I became embedded in the community where I lived, getting to know people on a one to one basis and in time on a wider scale. When experiencing circumstances outside of our control, such as hurricanes or blizzards for example, I was surrounded by people of all different nationalities who all came together and helped each other out to make sure everyone was looked after.

My work life opened more doors to become part of a different community so before I knew it, I was immersed in a number of groups, all very different, but all offering that sense of belonging, even though I was a long way from home.

So from my experience, community can be broken into different areas, and possibly overlap in some cases such as the following:

Communities can be from a geographical area which can be broken into urban, suburban, and rural.
Communities can be brought together by external circumstances which could result in forming an action
Communities can form from people with similar interests.
In a professional sense, people working in the same are can form their own community.

Community by definition is “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.”

But in the Digital World we live in today ‘people living in the same place’ part is not always relevant. There are various online communities, from online gaming, to book clubs, information forums and even the likes of Congregation itself.

Overtime, I have had the opportunity to join different online communities, such as the Women’s Inspire Network. This group is a supportive network where relationships are built online and it’s hugs instead of handshakes when meeting in life. It’s a rapidly growing network, and everyone gets the same welcome and same chances to promote themselves and their businesses as everyone else. You get out of it what you put into it. While developing business relationships, and getting advice and support, it’s also being a part of something bigger and realising you are not alone, it’s being part of an active online community .

When I think of the amount of communities I’m now apart of, and then look back on the narrow view I had on the word alone only a decade ago, it fills me with hope that the best is yet to come. Why you may ask? Well being active in these networks has helped me grow as a person, allowed me to learn, while also having the opportunity to give back.

All over the world there are countless communities and with the online opportunities this will only continue to grow. While it begins at home with the one we are born into, as our lives develop and change so too do the communities we become apart of.

But each community has something in common – the sense of belonging and being apart of something bigger!

Comments
  • Bob Kennedy says:

    Nice paper.
    For me communities exist at four levels: Individual, Interest-Group, Industry and Institution. These are the building blocks of our society.

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