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Social Media vs. Local Communities

Here’s a question I’ve been pondering…

Is the rise in Social Media a reaction to an increasing need for non-local networks/communities driven by our work & interests?

Quite possibly… sounds plausible…

If that’s the case then it implies that many Social Media adopters have a need for non-local network/communities.  That is to say networks and communities of people who are not limited by location or the general interests of their local community.

So for example, if you are interested in say Mentoring, your learning & sharing doesn’t have to be limited by your location and the number of people also interested in Mentoring locally.  You can share & learn with others in any part of the world as a community or network.

All makes sense right?  Sounds great doesn’t it?

I think largely it is.  I think for such adopters there are also some consequences too…

We only have a finite amount of time & energy to connect with networks & communities.  How does following our work & interests (passions?) through non-local communities impact the time we give to our local communities?

When done consciously & deliberately I think most of us largely spend our finite time in the right places.  We balance our time & expectations.

Yet, I wonder about the “farmers market” phenomenon… are these just about buying farm produce or are they as much about finding a way to connect with our local community?  Could their rapid growth be connected?

Then what happens when we don’t get the balance right…

I know that in the past I’ve neglected time at home with the family because I’ve been on Twitter having what seemed to me to be useful conversations…

I know people who’ve had issues at work because of the time they have given to Social Media communities of other professionals beyond the workplace to support their work & development…

I know people who’ve become more attached to their virtual community than their local community…

I’ve seen large local communities with high speed broadband struggle to get locals engaged with community issues or projects…

Do you recognise these?

Perhaps the next time we hear someone we know, work with or live near criticising Social Media we should take a moment to think about the connections we have with them.  What time do they need from us to support that connection?  They may not actually be nay-sayers or sceptics… they may just be telling you that the balance isn’t right.  

What do you think?

About David Goddin

Passionate about People, Performance & Potential. Amongst many other things David Goddin is a consultant, coach, facilitator & mentor with extensive experience of transforming business performance and organisational effectiveness as a Senior Executive in large organisations. As the founder and Managing Director of Change Continuum, David now works with companies and business professionals who want to increase performance, accelerate change & unleash potential.

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  1. Pingback: Social Media vs. Local Communities | @Work - 21st Century style | Scoop.it - October 1, 2012

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