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 https://www.communityfoundation.ie/ . 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 https://www.communityworkireland.ie/
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 Thesauras.com 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!


  • Bob Kennedy says:

    Rose, My answer to your first question is that for me a community is a complex system comprised of individuals, interest-groups, industries and institutions all engaged in a myriad of purposeful activities. Real community exists when all these act as a harmonious whole.

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