What’s a community?
I usually think of community in a positive way such as a group of people who have a common goal or interest. It’s a group you want to share your time with. There are all kinds of communities: local, global, temporary or weird. Some that come to mind are: church, school, family, neighborhood, book club, writing group, work, health club, tennis league, band camp, soccer team, doggie play group, and your Facebook wall.
What’s not a community
Internet, Facebook and Twitter are not communities. They are tools that make it possible for us to make or maintain personal connections on a global scale. However, once you are connected and interact with people to exchange ideas (and not just add them as friends and followers) then you create a community.
I don’t think jail is a community because that’s a place people are forced into because they did something wrong. Although, I’m sure some folks in jail share their reflections; the goal for many might be to get out and perhaps, do good. And those that get out of jail might become a community of ex-cons trying to put their lives together.
Some communities are temporary. Life-changing events such as moving to a new city, getting married, caring for a sick family member, being fired, and dying tend to have an impact on community. Shifts occur. When you get divorced, for example, your social circle changes. You may not get invited to wing night anymore with your married friends, but you can meet up with your new single friends at the local Irish pub for a Guinness.
My point is that we step in and out of communities throughout our lives. Time, place, connections, and special interests all make a difference in a community.