I love the internet! I love the way it connects people to causes they believe and creates communities which can do more together than they can do alone.
“As of 2009, an estimated quarter of Earth’s population uses the services of the Internet”, according to Wikipedia. In 1960’s, when the Internet was conceived, the intent was to facilitate the exchange of information between networks of computers. Today information is still exchanged but what dominates the Internet landscape is the connecting of people. Take a look at the top 10 US websites , half are exclusively community building websites; and it could be argued that actually 9 out of 10 utilize enough group and chat dynamics within their websites that foster community as well.
Several years ago a local radio station shut down its message board, so the core group of participants (community) banded together to build their own board. Just a bunch of guys who shared common interest in sports, and a desire to connect with people sharing similar interests. When common interest and the desire to connect intersect there is a connection; and it’s at that when things can happen because the multiplicity dynamic of a group/community takes hold. This was the case with our group, someone knew of a guy from school serving in Iraq who would be there for Christmas and suggested putting a care package together. From there, a single idea grew into Christmas care packages for the whole squad. What appeared to be just a group of sports nuts with a connection=spark, leveraged the multiplicity=fuel within its community, and rally behind a cause, to become a community in action=fire.
Connections Community Causes
One of my favorite examples of community on fire occurred in November with epic results when a six year old daughter asked a question of her Dad. The dad, author-blogger Jon Acuff who writes a blog called Stuff Christians Like, (which is also the title of his book both) shared the question with his blog community which raised $30,000 in 18 hours to build a kindergarten in Vietnam. And as the SCL’ers leveraged their influence in other online communities where they are connected multiplicity took over and the story went viral. Thanks to internet connections and community, and a cause like such a raised $60,000 for Samaritan’s Purse to build not one but two kindergartens.
Don’t think examples of connections, community, and causes have to be so grand to have an impact or make a difference.
- Recently a group of friends who were both connected online and in person met at another friend’s house to help clear off trees which came down after a recent storm when one of them posted the need for help online via social media.
- Another occasion was when a person share they were having difficultly getting to doctors appointments because of car problems, and almost instantly rides were offered and even a mechanic who learned of the story offered to fix the car without a labor charge.
Both illustrate cases of the internet allowing for connection, community, and causes being shared with needs being met.
Blogger and Thomas Nelson Publishing corporate communications director Lindsey Nobles, got me thinking about my own online community experience with her guest post on (in)courage which sum up community online in this way:
But, for the record, real community happens online. Just like real community happens in life. And God is there, right in the middle of it, with a Big Smile. But don’t take my word for it…remember this: if two or three of you come together as a community and discern clearly about anything, My Father in heaven will bless that discernment. For when two or three gather in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:19-20
Are you leveraging your online experience?
Would you say you devote a portion of your online time to learning, growing, contributing to something, someone or some cause?
Important questions to ask ourselves and only challenging if we are prepared to do something about the tension that may exist if we don’t like our answers!
trusting God period!
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