Community – Connection, Communication, Future #33 #cong19


Community is an incredible teacher of social and emotional skills that will become increasingly important in the fast chaining world. A risk to the sustainability of these wonderful facets of the community is losing traditional ways of communicating as a community and reliance on digital platforms that do not champion the local. Technology offers opportunity but needs to be directed in ways best for the community.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. The emotional and social skills fostered through community are valuable now and more so in the future.
  2. Communication is key for strong communities and at risk with the loss of traditional forms of communication and the pervasiveness of social media.
  3. Metrics of social media are not supportive of physical, intimate communities of depth.
  4. Can we envision a community communication platform that preserved the best of traditional communication and harnessed opportunity from technology?

About Carlene Lyttle:

After living in 7 different cities in 6 different countries Carlene was drawn back in the North West of Ireland looking for community, creativity and connection.
Like many, she returned after starting a family with an appreciation of the values of community and the opportunities for a fulfilling and engaging life living within a community. She wants to be part of a positive movement to make the area vibrant and exciting for her and her son.
Having worked in the high technology space sector she has seen the efficiencies that digital technology can bring. She wants to explore the opportunity to improve life in Inishowen with a specifically designed platform that delivers an integrated communication service. This is currently a project she is developing with the support of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

Contacting Carlene Lyttle:

You can follow Carlene on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

By Carlene Lyttle

Machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics – with the speed of technology what does the future hold for communities? 65% of children now entering primary school will grow into jobs not even invented yet. As a mother of a four-year-old how do I prepare my son for a very different future from the world I live in?

Creativity, empathy, storytelling. Emotional and social intelligence will be the sought-after skills of the future. Community fosters these skills. I see them in spades in Inishowen where I’m living. For me a physical and intimate community life will be the best preparation for the uncertain future of work. We need to value creativity, empathy, storytelling. With meaningful value – support, attendance, time, money.

Physical communities have depth. They require time, thought, consideration, real connection. As pointed out by Eoin Kennedy in his submission ‘Have we lost the art of chat?’, communication is key to sustaining communities. Physical communities do not thrive on social platforms. The metrics of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter is to get response in the ten and hundred thousand. In a rural community like Inishowen with a population of 40,000 or a market town like Carndonagh with a population of 2,000, how can a rural communities concerns go viral? These platforms are made to go viral not rural. A post for a beach clean after a storm – 5 likes. The action will result in 3 bin bags of plastic taken from the ocean but will be deemed a failure on the social media scene. I agree with Max Hastings submission and the idea that platforms promoting aggressive approval of others and self-obsession, are the enemy of community.

Physical communities are already dealing with diminishing traditional forms of communication – local newspapers, parish bulletins, notice boards; as well as the decline in word of mouth communication as the traditional centres of congregation decline – pubs and mass. If groups within the community are driven towards social media platforms, communication becomes siloed, disconnected, and lost in social media noise. Our communication in communities’ risks being structured in isolated web sites, Facebook pages or Instagram profiles where information isn’t shared – hampering growth, duplicating effort, and resulting in missed opportunities. When local groups use communication platforms designed for a global response, the depth of community work is lost.

In 2017 Facebook made a manifesto on global communities saying it would “strengthen our social fabric and bring the world closer together”. Then they sold our data to Cambridge Analytica. As Yuval Noah Harai points out, in the excellent 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, a community cannot be built on a business model that captures people attention to sell it to advertisers.

Technology does offer opportunity. Its transformative nature can have huge positive impacts as the James Casey and Peter Kearns’ submission attests. The risk from technology is the thoughtless way we are adopting it without considering what impact it is having. Technology could help, as Pamela O’Brien explores in her submission on how can technology facilitate the idea of community rather than erode it. With Pamela O’Brien and Eoin Kennedy I recognise the need to actively preserve the best parts of traditional community and the communication forms that come with it.

To retain the creative, empathetic, storytelling power of my local community how can we replace the traditional forms of community communication, preserving the best and harness the undoubted power of communication technology to make connections which have depth?

What are people searching for when they search for community? #22 #cong19


What we can learn from the various terms people use when they search for terms like “community” and the related questions.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Community is a great TV show
  2. So many are searching for the meaning/definition of community
  3. People are invested in community
  4. Even salads have communities!

About Rose Barrett:

A Galway woman who moved to Mayo because she could and would like others to have that same freedom. Grow Remote elf, part-time kayaker (too part-time).

Contacting Rose Barrett:

You can follow Rose on Twitter or send her an email.

By Rose Barrett

What are people searching for when they search for community?

I mean literally.

I find it’s an interesting world in the land of search engines. We can learn so much from how and what people are searching for, uncovering desires and sometimes things that aren’t even clear to the searcher.


The word “community” – what are people searching for (In Ireland specifically)?

  • community (TV show or term, it’s a bit of an uneven split) – [2,900/mth]
  • community games (egg and spoon anyone?) – [2,400/mth]
  • community credit union – [1,300/mth]
  • community welfare officer – [1,000/mth]
  • community shield (I had to look this one up, football it seems!) -[1,000/mth]
  • community centre/center – [1,000/mth]

And on and on.

When people are searching for the word “community” by itself, in Ireland, approximately 880 of them head off to the Wiki for the TV show (it is very good) but a good 460+ head to the Wiki on the term community.

And I think there’s good reason for this. Many people ponder what community means, particularly those working to build, strenghten or improve communities.

I’ve seen people cringe at the use of the word because it’s meaning has been tarnished and I wonder how we can take it back? Or should we even bother?

So back to those searchers – you might be heartened to learn that out of those people searching for the word “community” approximately 190/mth of them visit the website . This signals people who are looking to take action, involved in a community or looking for ways to give back. And if only a fraction of that number are taking action then I’m living in hope.

Another 43/mth (estimate) are visiting
seeing what sites people are visiting gives us a great insight into what people are interested in, what they are working on and looking to achieve.

And an honourable mention to Fingal CoCo who are getting a very healthy 32/mth visitors to their page about “Community and Leisure” where citizens can learn about programs, public spaces and projects. This should be standard across all local authories and communities, where citizens know how and where to access this information.

Searching for community…

Approximately 320 people per month are searching for the term “community definition”. A little over 90 of them each month are heading for a medium article titled “What does “community” even mean? A definition attempt & conversation starter.” where we learn that even salads have communities now (it’s on Facebook, of course). I also discovered a very interesting tool called “The Community Canvas” which warrants further investigation.

I find this so telling. 320/mth searches and, even more, telling that it’s an article they land on the most because after that article the next group of 50/mth searches is heading to the Merriam-Webster website. We can only guess that the second group are busy and need an answer now as to what community is, but the first group are more into storytelling?! From there it’s a mix of back to the “community” Wiki and of other dictionary websites.

For me the idea of community is so broad and depends so much on context that I’d like to see people accessing more varied articles and stories about what community might be for various groups.

“Community meaning” (140/mth) is bringing them on a similar route to above and “community synonym” (140/mth) might have been a good search for me to complete to help spice up this writing! No surprise that get’s the lion’s share of that search.

Community Questions

And what about the questions that people ask around community?

  1. ” What is your definition of community? “
  2. ” What do you mean by a community? “
  3. ” What are the types of community? “
  4. ” Why is a community important? “
  5. ” What is the purpose of community?”

And much more. The specifics of the language is so important. Someone who asks “What is the benefit of community?” may need a different answer to someone asking about it’s purpose. And for us, the community people, the builders, strengtheners and action takers. Looking at the different words people use to ask their questions helps us to delve deeper into what community means to people, what it could mean and helping to answer the question of it is is (or might be).

We’re finding that we’re talking about community from many different angles in Grow Remote, from the community that is growing around the organisation, to the communities that we are striving to enable. So by taking time to consider these questions and how we might answer we look deeper into where we might find better language, better answers and better action. And if you’re still looking for some answers, well let me “Google” that for you!


Audience, Community and Business #21 #cong19


Community is the next level up from building an audience, but it is more fragile and needs to be nurtured and pruned.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. An Audience is hugely valuable to an organisation.
  2. Community is the next level up from an Audience, but it is difficult to build and grow.
  3. You need to nuture and prune, and you may even need to seed your Community.
  4. You should consider who your community members are when choosing where to host the community.

About Alastair McDermott:

I help independent consultants & specialized consulting firms to get better quality leads from your website & online marketing. Does your website suck and your web designer hate you? Find out why by joining my email list at

Contacting Alastair McDermott:

You can connect with Alastair on Twitter or Marketing for Consultants or Websites for Consultants.


By Alastair McDermott

Audience, Community and Business

Building an Audience

In the world of business, quite often we’ll talk about building an audience. That’s a group of people who will consume our content, and includes existing customers, prospective customers, and sometimes even peers and employees. In marketing, having a bigger audience generally means there are more of those prospective customers, and so we want to grow that audience as much as possible.

Audience members are typically not aware of each other, unless you refer to individuals’ stories in your content. You can segment your audience, and communicate with the various segments in different ways to give them more relevant content and connect better with them. You can even get them engaging with you, promoting replies by asking questions and requesting feedback.

I think that building your audience is crucial for any organisation that wants to grow. I’m trying to do that continuously for my own business: my “12 Week Year” spreadsheet includes a tracking column for the number of subscribers I have on my email list[1]. This is one of the most important numbers in my business – these people have actively decided they want to hear from me.

Community is the next level.

Community is where your audience members start to connect with each other and have conversations directly without going through you. It goes from being a one-to-many broadcast, to being a many-to-many conversation. Your audience is now engaging both with you and with each other – they are now content creators and contributors.

They will often have a shared identity and a shared language. Community engagement rates can be much higher than traditional social media. When members are engaged in a community they are building deep relationships with each other as well as you. Seth Godin calls them a “Tribe”, and Kevin Kelly talks about the concept of “1,000 True Fans”. Your community members will back you to the hilt if you treat them right.

Taking Care of Your Community

A community is a more fragile entity than an audience. You need to nurture it and help it develop. Initially, you may need to seed conversation – there are many abandoned communities where the owners never got initial momentum. Some large communities like Reddit actually created fake accounts[2] to ask and answer questions in order to look like a larger, busier community.

A very popular forum here in Ireland is – it started out with a pre-existing community of 100+ Quake players who needed somewhere to talk online and organise matches – a shared identity and language. Having that initial group created momentum that ended up creating a community with hundreds of thousands of users, and these “boardsies” developed their own identity and language and have mostly forgotten their Quake origins.

As well as nurturing, you also need to prune. You need rules or guidelines, and you need to be proactive about removing bad actors from the group – the good folks will really appreciate that you’re taking care of their experience.

Talking to the community and asking for feedback is always a good idea. If you’re doing things right, they will feel that the community is theirs, they’ll have a sense of ownership. When they get comfortable with the community and their identity, they will resist change, so you need to be aware of that if implementing drastic changes.

Creating Your Community

If you want to create a community, first check to make sure that you haven’t missed a fledgling community developing somewhere organically. Your audience might already have started to hang out together.

If your community has not organically self-created, then you need to to create it! The first step is deciding where to build or host the community – where it will live. Do you want to create it on a popular 3rd party platform? Beware that you are building on rented ground if you choose to to that. Or do you want to choose the more difficult route of building it on your own property?

One of the most popular choices right now is to create a Facebook Group. I recommend you ask for email address when people join, so that you can notify the community directly if you want to move later. Another popular choice in the tech world is to create a slack workspace (check out some free online slack communities on slofile[3] to see how slack works).

If you’d like to create a community on a platform you have more control over, you can use vBulletin, bbPress, XenForo and a whole slew of other options[4].

You should factor in the nature of your organisation & who your community members are when choosing where to host the community – for example, if you provide Facebook related services then your audience is probably already on that platform.

The Next Step

If you want to create your own community, Impact have a great guide to help get you started here[5]. Best of luck with it!

1. Marketing for Consultants email list

2. Reddit Fake Accounts

3. Slack Community Database

4. Community Building Software Options

5. Impact Online Community Management Guide 

Time for Companies to be Called to Account #20 #cong19


Coming soon.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Coming soon

About David Gluckman:

David Gluckman was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on 1st November 1938, the day that Sea Biscuit and War Admiral fought out the Race of the Century at Pimlico Park, Baltimore.  Educated in Johannesburg, he joined a local advertising agency after university and soon fell in love with business. He made the pilgrimage to London in 1961 and worked as an account executive on the introduction of Kerrygold butter into the UK.  Always a frustrated creative, he escaped into brand development in 1969, met a man from a drinks company called IDV, and his life changed forever. A lover of cricket, he considers his greatest achievement bowling the West Indian legend, Joel Garner, first ball in a pro-am 6-a-side tournament.

In 1973 David invented Baileys, the world’s most successful cream liqueur, which has since sold over 1.25 billion bottles.

Contacting David Gluckman:

You can connect with David on LinkedIn or see his book ‘That Sh*t Will Never Sell’

By David Gluckman

Since my book was first published, I have travelled abroad quite extensively, talking to students and ‘performing’ at business conferences.  One of the things that has really struck me has been the change in attitudes amongst liberal-minded, community-conscious people of all ages and all over the place.

In Sydney last September, I listened to Derrick Kayongo, a Ugandan living in the USA, talk about recycling used bars of soap in hotels by sanitising them, reprocessing them and making them available to people in Third World countries. Apparently when Derrick started his venture, there were 800 million bars of soap thrown away in US hotels.

Visiting a local street market in London last Autumn, I came across a couple of young men selling a vodka brand called SAPLING they’d created.  “What’s so special about it?” I asked.  “Well,” one replied “apart from tasting great, we also undertake to plant a tree for every bottle of vodka we sell.”

In Athens, early in the year, I listened to a captivating story told by a young Dutchman of Kenyan origin.  His name was Paul Kangangi.  His tale was about a Dutch journalist investigating work practices in the Cocoa fields of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.  His conclusion?  That owners of all the major plantations were using kidnapped child slave labourto work the plantations.

The result of his investigations was the launch of the world’s first ‘slave free chocolate’ brand.  It’s called TONY’S CHOCOLONELY, it’s reputedly the biggest-selling chocolate brand in Holland, and it’s now being sent abroad for export.  This says a lot about the people of Holland who bought into the ethical basis of the TONY’S idea.  It’s also a very good chocolate.

The stories above are all about individuals or small groups trying to make a difference to help improve the lot of the communities we live in.  The time has come for large organisations to front up and join the crusade for better living.

Rumour has it that the global chocolate giants like Nestle, Mars and Cadburys are planning to go ‘slave free’ by 2025.  By that time, the management who made the promises will all have moved on and there’ll be a new corporate approach which probably won’t have the ‘slave-free’ manifesto built into their business plans.

I am intrigued by the stance taken by the drinks companies and the betting organisations. DRINK RESPONSIBLY, whispered in a drink advert is hardly likely to persuade a binge drinker that he’s losing control.  And WHEN THE FUN STOPS, STOP is a catchy phrase which will have absolutely zero impact on some poor unfortunate soul who has become enslaved by a gambling machine.

The trouble is that to take the quantum leap that they need to take, they will have to admit that their products are bad for us. And that is a tough ask.

But things are changing.  Social responsibility and care for the community are top level issues in Scandinavian countries.  And I even read recently that a corporation as large as Unilever is considering culling those brands in their portfolio which they consider are being harmful to the community and the environment.  (I wonder where they stand on Palm Oil?)

If I was starting out as a new brand consultant, I would build into every brief that I received a directive TO LOOK FOR AN ELEMENT THAT WOULD CONTRIBUTE TO THE WELL-BEING OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE HUMAN COMMUNITY.

This is something I ‘preach’ when talking to business or student groups these days. It adds to the innovation challenge. But it should not be beyond the reach of intelligent creative people.

The Effects Technology has on People and Communities #19 #cong19

#cong19 speaker


Max explores the effects technology and especially social media has on people and communities and link the shifting landscape of social interaction to the shift from agricultural to industrial/urban in the 19th century and the social problems that arose.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. We are currently living through the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  2. Studies are beginning to link  social media to depression
  3. Former members of Google and Facebook are starting to question the ethics involved in todays social media market
  4. Psychology and its place within social media use

About Max Hastings:

Max Hastings is a music producer, music teacher and creative director at Code Switch his tech start up which develops creative applications. Earlier this year they launched the K2S-VR, a Kinect 2 interactive synthesizer. Code Switch is also focused on developing educational applications harnessing emerging interactive technologies. With unique positioning between the music industry and the education sector Code Switch deliver forward thinking musical solutions that are easily transferrable within an educational framework.

Contacting Max Hastings:

You can follow Max on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or send him an email.

By Max Hastings

Ever since man adopted rudimentary stone tools and weapons, like the epic opening to Kubricks space odyssey 2001, technologies have been shaping and changing the way we congregate, interact socially and live as communities. The relationship between technology and community took drastic steps forward during the industrial revolution of the 18thand 19thcenturies, when mass movements of rural agricultural communities flocked towards developing urban areas and the steam and coal powered technologies that drove the new seismic shift  of work forces moving from fields to factories.

That was deemed as the first industrial revolution. We are now experiencing the fourth industrial revolution. Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum,  describes this in a 2016 article “Now a fourth industrial revolution is building on the third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.” The evolution and diversification of technology and its near all encompassing influence on our everyday lives is changing the very nature of how we live and how we treat each other.

The blurring of the lines that Schwab describes is evident on multiple social levels since the proliferation of smartphone technologies. The emergence of social networks and the platforms that we now describe as social mediahave moulded this digital social revolution. The mass engagement of people utilising social media as their sole method of interaction and communication. Then later replacing traditional news outlets as their source for world news and political discourse has been such a change that we now think of the world as pre and post internet. In essence social media is the congregation and connection of minds within a particular digital platform. A place to share ideas, beliefs, memories and opinions.  A new method in which we can interact with the world, connect with people on the other side of the planet and build a new sense of community. Well in theory anyway, the realities, as research is demonstrating, are not so simple.

In the inner cities of the first industrial revolution diseases plighted communities. According to historian Robert Wilde “There was also a range of common diseases: tuberculosis, typhus, and after 1831, cholera. The terrible working environments created new occupational hazards, such as lung disease and bone deformities.” Where in the 1800’s people suffered due to overcrowding and the physical pressures that arise from these conditions, we now are beginning to see the psychological negatives produced by living in close proximity to other peoples digital  personnas and the mob mentalities that exist when humans gather in groups in real life and within the digital realm.  The diseases of today are of the mind.

When one zooms out and looks at the effects of social media, especially on young people from a macro social perspective, studies are beginning to show correlations between social media and depression, suicide and feelings of isolation and loneliness.  The psychology behind everyday social media platform practices such as “scroll to refresh” display a darker level to what companies are willing to delve into to engage with their users, tapping into addictive patterns of behaviour and gambling. Trisitan Harris former Google design ethicist and  cofounder of Centre for Humane Technology says “Each time you’re swiping down, it’s like a slot machine, you don’t know what’s coming next. Sometimes it’s a beautiful photo. Sometimes it’s just an ad.”

The idea is also forming that social media plays into various negative aspects of the human personality spectrum. Psychology Today  says “Research is beginning to suggest a correlation between the heavy use of social media platforms and the Dark Triad—a cluster of personality traits that includes psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcisssism.”This area of studyis showing alarmingly, how social media is demonstrating that people are becoming increasingly self obsessed. Heightened self obsession and the aggressive seeking of approval from others are fundamentally the enemies of community.

Ironically the internet, a revolutionary tool that started out as a limitless realm of freedom of expression and community growth and sharing has become a divisive mechanism of monetised social interaction that is causing users to feel isolated, depressed, severely self conscious and inadequate, at the same time playing into deep seated harmful human personality traits. How we treat each other fundamentally reflects the society in which we inhabit. How we interact with and educate successive generations is the basis of the communities we build and leave behind. The honeymoon period for social media and the masses is  drawing to a close, how we inform and educate people to its uses, its benefits and its pitfalls, will be the next phase. Pause for thought.


Unconference Communities are Growing #18 #cong19


Trust in the community – a brief history of unconference.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Join
  2. Speak
  3. Listen
  4. Trust

About Mag Amond:

Mags is still retired and still pursuing a PhD (part-time) at Trinity College Dublin. Chairing conversations in Cong each November has become a favourite pursuit.

Contacting Mags Amond:

You can contact Mags by email.

By Mags Amond

CongRegation is described as an unconference.
What does this mean in terms of the growing community of Cong participants? At the simplest level, we don’t know the agenda ‘til we arrive. We begin the day with an outline of what may happen – each person has submitted a blog entry on the theme (this year it is Community), is allocated a number on arrival, and is handed a ‘dance card’ with their name one one side and a schedule printed on one side. All each one knows is that they will be offered a chance to speak their thoughts during one of four ‘huddles’ to which they are assigned over the day. The only micromanagement in this unconference is the allocation of participants to their venues throughout the day – a logistical necessity, as the spaces (of varying sizes from small to smaller!) are located across a small village. Each huddle has a chair (who has no idea what will unfold apart from sharing of a speaker’s thoughts, listening, and responding) to maintain a chaordic momentum and manage the time.

ConGregation is a situated example of the glocalisation of a global phnemomenon. Looking across and down the history of modern unconference formats ((oh yes, I have a spreadsheet!)), they fall into three structural bands
(i) broad discursive unconferences with long time slots devoted to community conversations in an agenda agreed at the start of the day (Open Space, World Café, BarCamp, EdCamp, CampEd);
(ii) narrower sessions with very short time frames and strict rules for each speaker (Pecha Kucha, Ignite, Gasta); and
(iii) hybrids with elements of both (TeachMeet, Pedagoo, BrewEd, MeetUp, ConGregation, Vconnect).
In terms of deploying the unconference format, at least five methods have crossed my horizon since I began to observe, each with varying degrees of openness and inclusion.
1 – Independent unconference events:
As in this annual event in Cong, most MeetUp, BarCamp, EdCamp, Pedagoo, BrewEd, World Café, and Open Space Technology gatherings are organised as stand-alone events, independent entities with open access for all interested parties to attend
2, 3,& 4 – Unconference events attached to conferences:
(i) many unconferences are doing what their names suggests and getting attached to an established conference as a fringe event outside the published timetable – some TeachMeets and MeetUp are organised this way; these may or may not be restricted to those attending the parent conference.
(ii) other formats have evolved within the conference setting: using an unconference format for some activities during the conference schedule – one way is to include a TeachMeet, Gasta, Pecha Kucha, or Ignite session to vary the pace, inject energy, and open the floor to voices and ideas that might not other be included.
(iii) another emerging idea is to offer a Vconnect session so that those not at a conference in person can digitally connect and join a conversation with those at the conference.
5 – In-house unconference events:
Many educational, community, business or special interest groups are adopting the unconference ‘caucus’ approach for team meetings and professional learning events. Access is limited to the relevant community, but speakers and presentation come from within the working group.

Switching the brain to unconference mode can take a while – timetables and agendas are built by assent and participant choice – some patience is needed, and confidence, and there may be bite marks on the teeth of a control freak for the first while. It can demand a leap of faith, and provide a giddy sense of freedom. Trust is the key – trust the community, let the community trust you, and trust yourself. Trust the CongRegation.

Ever Increasing Circles #17 #cong19


Community means many things to many people. It can be the catalyst of change, the spurring of motivation or the detriment to a society depending on the perspective. Overall community is ever evolving, its participation is crucial. Community is about bringing people together with common interests and shared values to achieve similar goals. Inclusion and engagement ensures everyone involved has a voice if they want to express themselves. It all takes time and it is vital that you choose your communities wisely.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Community is ever evolving.
  2. Community is about bringing people together with common interests and shared values to achieve similar goals.
  3. You get out what you put in.
  4. It is ok to step away from time to time to re-evaluate your own needs.

About Gillian Berry:

Gillian Berry is a qualified Nurse Specialist. Recent roles have been in Education, Practice Development Facilitation and Project Management. She is driven by Quality, Patient Safety and Person Centred Care. Currently, she is embarking on pastures new, in healthcare innovation.

Contacting Gillian Berry:

You can connect with Gillian on Twitter or LinkedIn or send her an email.

By Gillian Berry.

Community means many things to many people. It can be the catalyst for change, the spurring of motivation or the detriment to a society depending on the perspective. Overall community is ever evolving, its participation is crucial, like a good stew you get out what put in. So why has the sense of community changed. Like time it evolves. Have we gone from a face to face community into the virtual realms in this digital age?
As I mature at rapid speed I look back to see what community means to me. Growing up community to me was an important fact of life. You belonged, took part and a great sense of volunteerism and commitment. My parents were community people; they were involved with the local town hall, activities and events. Other thoughts on community spring to mind were the yearly ‘Stations’, which were the neighbourhood mass, now a thing of the past.
Rolling on, I feel my sense of community was lost for a few years when I was living in Dublin. I reflect now Dublin wasn’t the problem. It was the lack of common ground, or time for each other as we rushed through life. In our Cul de Sac, our address was all we shared or so I thought. Having children was our new common denominator. This got us all out to the street and got us to know each other. With children or shall I say time for acknowledging each other, brought values and traits to the next level. A community was born.
Now my sense of community is about bringing people together with common interests and shared values to achieve similar goals. Inclusion and engagement is vital to ensure everyone involved has a voice. It all takes time and it is vital that the time is utilised wisely.
I am proudly a member of many communities, my fitness and yoga community has a shared care approach. We look out for each other and spur us to be our best selves both physically and through social media groups. In my venture into innovation there are many communities I cherish. We have created peer support groups celebrating our milestones and advice each other when needed. Congregation too has a true community spirit in a gathering of minds. We share a sense of creation, innovation and positivity.
From the near to further afield, I am involved with European and Global communities. It is all about the shared vision. “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” Wheatley
Regarding the virtual world, it is easy to be distracted by many virtual communities. The virtual supports work well for me as a power tool when I have already met the people. Some I have not met however when I have a true belief in their mission or values I will support all the way. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Meade
I am not saying this cannot be achieved virtually, human connection can be achieved with the empathy of words and kindness a community can bring. We must also highlight there can be false connections so trust is vital. An example of where a community can have a negative effect was the Twitter anti- vaccination campaign. Everyone is free to express their opinions however false information is dangerous.
So to answer my first question; Have we gone from a face to face community into the virtual community in this digital age? I say we haven’t gone there yet, we have a balance of both. Hand in hand they can work together. For the next generation, virtual could well be the reality of communities.
With the constant demands of invitations to join communities both physically and virtual, It is ok to step away from time to time to re-evaluate your own needs. My parting question; is it better to be part of a few strong communities than be diluted in many? It’s up to each of us to decide.

Where is home? Ramblings of a rambler #16 #cong19


For some of us. Perhaps you will relate.
We are young, we have no purpose other than to live. To live our best life. Living to our own excesses. In youthful ignorance of times to come.
Unbeknownst diverging paths leads to divergent futures.
Once excessive youth, exuberant burns low, realization of future needs prevail.
Communities grow on the heads of all or fall when we go.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Nothing youth loves nothing more than youth.
  2. Choices. Invest in your communities
  3. Promote work life balance, it’s benefits wherever you go

About Geoffrey Giobbons:

Geoffrey Gibbons
I once was somebody other than I am now.
Telecoms/IT Solution Architect
Distracted by ideas.
You get the picture

Contacting Geoffrey Gibbons

You can connect with Goeffrey by email or LinkedIn

By Geoffrey Gibbons.

Where is home? Ramblings of a rambler.


Daisy weeps.

Empty nest, all alone. no one home.

Educated and trained all grown. City bound, nothing here. Eager they fly away, adventures await new places new people to meet, new countries and new lives.

Daisy weeps now old, now alone.

Children weep,  no jobs to bring them home.

Reverse the Mega City trend. Reverse the translocation of the youth away from rural communities and their family’s. Create a better economic future in a Mega Culture.

Daisy is happy.  Growing old with dignity, growing old with her family and community all around.

As I write this I am at odds having moved again, looking back at a community I have loved, now left behind.  18 months is such a short time to grow evolve into something new. To see people to see a community to be accepted, to feel at home. My uncles words resonate in my mind.  Would you come, would you move.  My answers was yes I would.

I had moved back to the community where my father was born. Tír na nÓg where the people are young even as they grow old.

I started off Daisy weeps.  My grandmother I never asked was this true.  I assume that in a way she did. But it is has become the norm.  Children grow and move away to live there own lives.

I associate communities with families.  Without families there is no continuation of communities.

Without families a community shrinks and dies.

We are living in a divide.  Rural versus urban A divide in a style of life.

Daisy my grandmother, a beautiful kind woman living in the west of Ireland. She raised 3 girls and 6 boys all but one moved away, including my father.  Communities of people slowly displaced around the world. Once thriving rural communities of 20 to 30 houses slowly been erased by time.  Once fielding teams of eager energetic youths. Now fields where houses once stood. Only a few remain. Surrounded by holiday homes where family’s once lived.

The translocation of people, to cities, to man factories is in the past. Office blocks stand full, overflowing, congestion of roads, small spaces.

All this is in the past.  Technology surpasses  the need for centralized resources.  Yet we are slow , companies hesitate to implement structures for home working. Investment in local hubs, regional hubs is slow only now beginning.

I have become a nomad or at least that is what I hear in whispered words.  They won’t settle, won’t stay in one place never settling down. I listen thinking about choices that I have made. Family over profit. Family above endless travel. Endless corporations blindly following archaic thoughts of work life balance while shouting out about technical innovations but stuck in the past. I have worked, I have enjoyed the office life.  But for us all a time comes when family needs come first. To turn off to become at odds with the norm.  It has become common for companies to see families as an unwelcome hinderance to profit.

It is easy to hope,  easy to move with expectations of success.  It’s hard to create success get that remote job.

To live where your heart tells you you belong.

It is this that sees us move again.  Once I moved from job to job, contract to contract.  Living around the world.  Leaving to make money or to go where I am told.

Are my roots shallow with no place of my own.

No they are strong, set deep into the cultural norms, honor bound to uphold the ingrained values imparted upon me by the communities I live in.

My mind links to similarities where ever I am.  We all look for a community of like minded people to fill our need to belong.

Where is home?

distributed leadership #15 #cong19


I believe leadership can arise (emerge) spontaneously. It can manifest through a statement, an action, a relationship, or a process.
Supporting people to give authority to their creativity supports leadership. Each person becomes encouraged to offer their intuitive sense of direction to a situation in an instance of knowledge or authority. This is leadership distributed across the collective (group, team, community) or context (project, process).

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. creative activity, initiative, enterprise, and leadership all exercise a common muscle
  2. that muscle is best exercised in a social setting
  3. we could call that muscle authorship
  4. authorship is about standing up for the progress of an idea into the world

About Jeffrey Gormly:

i use my creativity to make space for yours

Contacting Jeffrey Gormly

You can connect with Jeffrey by email.

By Jeffrey Gormly

“In truth, the right way to begin to think about the pattern which connects is to think of it as primarily a dance of interacting parts”
Gregory Bateson, Mind and Nature

I work with an idea of leadership as an emergent property; that is, I believe leadership can arise (emerge) spontaneously. It can manifest through a statement, an action, a relationship, or a process.
Supporting people to give authority to their creativity supports leadership. Each person becomes encouraged to offer their own intuitive sense of direction to a situation in an instance of knowledge or authority. This is leadership as spontaneous, improvised, fluid, and mediated by context rather than some outside authority. This is leadership distributed across the collective (group, team, community) or context (project, process).
In this work I focus on creating (choreographing) conditions that allow and support leadership to emerge. Creative practice encourages attentiveness, physical liveliness, concentration, a refinement of the senses of seeing and listening, and invokes or rehearses a hypothetical ‘sixth sense’ of telepathy or intuition (imagination).
The intention is to have fun, build an ensemble, promote full presence of mind, raise concentration levels, and tune everyone in to what I playfully refer to as hivemind, a kind of collective intelligence which encompasses self, each other, the space or larger context, and the task at hand. It’s about creating an ensemble out of a group, and staging situations that allow people to voice their intuition, their own sense of direction, with authority, and perhaps offer that to the group as a gesture of leadership.
An authentic experience of creative process includes developing and trusting intuition; listening to oneself, others and the situation; bravely expressing oneself freely; not taking things personally; trying things out; not knowing for sure; rehearsing and reflecting.
Playing with the idea of hivemind offers the chance to explore and experiment with relations between part and whole, between individual and collective; to ‘tune in’ to the larger creative, thinking, or growth processes taking place; to sense what needs to be said; and place thoughts, dreams, desires, wishes, creative ideas and free associations into an open, communal container.
Individuals can also let go of troubling or difficult issues by placing these thoughts into ‘hivemind’ and allowing them be understood as a ‘symptom of the system’. This encourages free speech and direct address of the situation, without triggering interpersonal conflict or disagreement. It offers the opportunity to freely say what needs to be said, without being tied to ownership of these tidings, in a kind of ‘immunity from prosecution’.
Underlying this work is a belief that creative activity, initiative, enterprise, and leadership all exercise a common muscle, and that muscle is best exercised in a social setting. We could call that muscle authority, but I prefer to think of it creatively, as authorship.
Authorship is not about claiming the origin of an idea, but standing up for the progress of that idea into the world. It is a kind of leadership that manifests in an instant, a gesture committing us to what we feel we know to be true or possible, in that moment expressing our belief and passion about that possibility and shaping its trajectory.
We identify this courageous gesture as leadership because it gives voice or action to something-needing-to-be-said: intuition, we could call it: trusting our own knowledge about creativity, community, economy, culture, and allowing these dynamics to take form through their own process.

Conscious Community – a Personal Story #14 #cong19


Reflections of a lifetime looking for ‘my community’. Now that I have found it, how will I change it?

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. The advent of the information age has made us less satisfied with our given communities, but also granted us the ability to change them more easily.
  2. With the increase in choice, comes a decrease in certainty.
  3. In the West, it seems the power has shifted from the community to the individual and ‘Where is my community?’ is a question with complex answers.
  4. I have found my community through both serendipity and conscious research and effort – how will my presence change it?

About Anne Wilson:

Positive Transformation is what both inspires and drives me. My many years in multi-national companies (Banking & Healthcare) have revolved around improvements for both internal staff and customer experience.
I’m looking forward to connecting with the Congregation community to see what positive transformations we might be able to create!

Contacting Anne Wilson

You can connect with Anne by email.

By Anne Wilson

*Conscious Communities – a Personal Story*

Communities are stories that we tell ourselves – which means that we have the power to change them.

Sometimes we fall into communities relatively easily and are comfortable staying there. However, the advent of the information age has made many less satisfied with their given communities and also granted us the ability to change them more easily. We can emigrate and take on new or multiple nationalities. We can work in multiple industries and locations in one lifetime. We can learn about new hobbies, join different clubs, choose our friends and even our family (be it through divorce, adoption or advanced medical techniques). Unimaginable in most societies previously, but you can now even decide which gender community you wish to belong to.

With this increase in choice, comes a decrease in certainty – in the stability that we can expect for ourselves and those around us. Even if we choose the community we were born and reared in, we cannot expect it to remain the same as it will be changed by the individual decisions of others either within it or joining it from the outside. It seems the power has shifted from the community to the individual, at least in the West. The Middle East, Africa and Asia still have relatively strong community norms and I do not see power shifting to the individual in places like China any time soon.

Three of my grandparents and two of my great grandparents emigrated to a new continent, Africa. I observed one side of my family integrate, and the other remain insular – primarily socialising with families who came from the same Celtic villages. We, as children, did not view ourselves as immigrants, and yet we were curious about our family origins. All of us made the journey back and, while the experience gave us insights into the ‘quirks’ of our grandparents, none of us felt the proverbial emotional feelings of ‘homecoming’. In fact, there were one or two unexpected instances where attention was drawn to our ‘foreignness’ due to our accents and interactions. Add to the mix a significant period of our working lives in additional countries and the question of ‘where is my community?’ becomes more complex.

Working for a large multi-national company far from ‘home’, my like-minded colleagues formed my community. Considering the risks of such a temporary, disparate and diverse community, I made a conscious decision to find a new and more stable community located within a smaller geographic area. With parents and brothers in three different countries, this posed a challenge. It was up to me to decide which family members to choose as neighbours and which country to give my allegiance to. In such circumstances, it’s amazing what information you seek out in order to make the choice. In the end, I found it prompted an examination of my values and what I understood the values and futures of the different countries to be. The administrative details (tax, insurance, housing, cars, etc) were secondary but nevertheless impactful. Then came learning the nuances of the culture and making further choices as to which sub cultures I wished to embrace and which I preferred to avoid. On a personal level, I have found my community through both serendipity and conscious research and effort.

Now that my community has been selected on an individual level, I find myself turning to the question of the power of many. How do I contribute to the elevation of my chosen community to achieve things I would not be able to achieve alone? I have realised that while it is good to continually deepen my understanding of the planet, my impact will only be at a community level, within the sphere of influence I achieve (either actively or passively). It feels almost like the process of orientating oneself in a big corporation. What are the formal structures? Where are the informal points of power and information flows? What is the community’s general culture and does it have any type of long-term strategy for where it is headed? I say ‘almost’ because location-based community (i.e one’s town / city) is a lot ‘messier’ than even the messiest of corporate cultures I have experienced. Presumably because there is a requirement in a corporation for you to be clear on where you fit in, the value you bring to the overall strategy and there is less choice over who you must work with productively. For this reason, my first active foray into ‘community’ has offered surprises – sometimes delightful, sometimes disappointing and frequently amusing. And there are some things that I really need to change!