Posts Tagged ‘communities’

My Jet Set Life and Social Definitions

13 Oct

Well, it’s been an interesting 30 days. In the past month, I’ve flown to NYC and stayed in a (rather crummy) hotel not far from Times Square. Following that, I flew down to Washington, DC (quite by accident on the part of the travel agent), drove across three state lines (Virginia / Maryland, Maryland / Delaware, and Delaware / Pennsylvania) to get to King of Prussia in order to spend a little under a week there. All of this for training, with some fantastic students, and I’m beginning to get used to the idea of spending some time away from home. It definitely makes me miss those people most important to me all the more, but it gives me the chance to experience different regions of the world, even if I start with the continent I call home.

Moving on, I had the (mis)fortune today of being caught off guard by an acronym I saw scrolling past on my Twitter feed. Puzzled, I inquired towards its meaning. A new three-letter acronym had been commandeered to identify an Online Community on Twitter (and beyond), which struck me as odd. I suppose this comes partly from my bias towards the particular subject and the communities that revolve around it, but also from my bias towards communities in general. Communities as a whole don’t need to be organized, structured, or restricted. I find it only makes it more difficult for the members of such a community to feel like they belong, and be more likely to feel entitled compared to people outside of the community.

Belonging, naturally, is a positive. Entitlement, more along the lines of a negative. Being part of a community entitles you to nothing more than access to a group of like-minded individuals at most, and to a group of people aware of a common interest at worst. Adding acronyms to this only adds to the miasma of confusion around social networking to begin with, as opposed to making people aware of your cause and feel inclined to join. Is this because it’s a “friends only” group, or because those who want to join should know what such an acronym means? Growth is focused around ideals and beliefs, not acronyms and definitions. I think that’s part of what does not endear me to such groups. I have enough responsibility in life to begin with, and serving a group with a specific purpose is not an added responsibility that I require.

So where does this put me? Confused, primarily. Somewhat offended, even though I have no justification to feel such. I’ve been invited to hundreds of thousands of communities in my lifetime, and I ignore most of them to begin with just because I don’t understand or relate to their ideals or beliefs. Why would I spend any time on figuring out what an unexplained acronym means to figure out what your ideals or beliefs are? Do I want to have that acronym assigned to me, and need to explain it to others, or would I be better off just sharing your belief from a distance?

These are the thoughts that go through my head. What are yours? If you were invited to a group that refers to themselves as an WOC, would you spend the time looking into what that meant? Is the savings in number of letters worth the alienation of the masses?

~ Aiden

PS. My hypothetical example could be “Women’s Online Community”, or even “Wombat Online Community”. Assume for the example that you don’t know, and it’s not obvious, what the acronym stands for.