Thursday, October 7, 2010

Embracing Your Community

As most of you already know, I became a member of Facebook. I held off for as long as I could as the whole concept of it took some
getting used to. I suppose it's my age as it's sure not my understanding of technology. I've always tried to keep up with the latest and greatest when it comes to my computer.

The thing that I find odd is the abundance of communication that goes along with it. Quite frankly, I'm not interested in where someone is all the time. That's weird. And as I've watched different people use the application as well as the age groups that are within those generations, the level of community is astounding.

Moving back to East Texas five years ago, I began to have some clarity of Facebook and the word, "community". It happened as I drove to Palestine for a meeting one day and found myself staring at all the old buildings in downtown. What must it have been like in this town so many years ago when these buildings went up and businesses were thriving with people walking the streets? A group of people that all knew one another and held together like any other tight knit East Texas town.

There was definitely a sense of community in New London where I grew up. It was one of those places where everyone knew one another as well as your business. You couldn't move one toe without the whole town knowing about it. And yet, here we are in 2010 clinging to that same sense of community that for some, tried so hard to leave.

As I sometimes drive through these little towns, they have obviously all seen better days. They are stacked with empty old buildings as their children have all ventured off to cities in search of a better life. Better jobs. Better money. Better opportunities. But where is the community?

Which brings us back to Facebook. I honestly believe that Facebook has actually filled the void of what we so dearly hold as community.

Living in the city for so long, I can tell you there is no community. Yea sure, I've got friends. We hopefully all have friends but the clincher is how busy we all are and the amount of time we spend at work. Throw in kids and there is no social life whatsoever. The phrase, "We should get together", is a joke. It doesn't mean anything when Friday rolls around and all you want to do is lock yourself up in a closet and flush your mobile phone or Blackberry down a toilet.

And so you turn to the only community you have left. A Facebook community where the
human need to belong will hopefully be met and you can actually get together in some sense.

Call me old fashion but I miss the real thing. There is nothing greater than a group of
friends just hanging out and enjoying each other. Throw in some merlot or an ice cold beer and you'll find me on the front row.

Peace out. And now to post this. How ironic.

Photo of Texas Theater in downtown Palestine by Phil Bebbington

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