If I talk or think about neighbourliness it inevitably makes me think about where I grew up and the small village where my mother still lives. As a youngster it was difficult not to get in to trouble because everyone knew who I was. That is of course, if you go with the principle that you’re only in trouble if you get caught!
I once thought it a great idea to climb to the top of a huge marquee, erected for the village fete, to use the sloped roof as a slide. A few of us would take turns to pull ourselves right to the top using the guide ropes and enjoy the trip down that is, until after a few thrilling descents I tore through the roof and landed in Accident & Emergency with some story about falling out of a tree! Rest assured I got into big trouble when we got home by which time another villager had got a message to my mum after witnessing my earlier demise and my obvious creativity in making the most of any opportunity for adventure.
The point is, I lived in a small community where people knew each other and more importantly, communicated with each other. People shared news and information often and still do. I also seem to remember that at certain times people shared time, skills and material things as well, especially in times of hardship or crisis; the times we most need help or support. Even now I hear through my mother, stories of small gestures of help and support that make a huge difference and contribute to my feelings about the sense of community there.
Sharing in the Definition
I imagine if we were to come up with a definition of community or neighbourhood it would include the concept of sharing. Things like shared space or geographical area such as a housing estate, region or street. It could shared or common goals, objectives and communication. At times, that shared communication could be critical say, in warning of a common threat but most of the time it will be low-level interaction where all manner of detail might be exchanged. But this isn’t a trivial thing, it’s so important that if a group of people live together and fail or refuse to communicate, you might argue that there is no community. This scenario is not made up; we see it in the news today or even live it where there is racial, political or religious conflict or tension.
I’m not going to say that talking or communicating will solve the world’s problems but it is if course a part of the solution. If there’s discord, it is likely that compromises will be required but for discord to become harmony some sharing of ideas and even support for each others ideas might be required. Sometimes, life can feel more straightforward when you don’t talk. It might be simpler if you fall out with someone and then refuse to talk but that will break society. But my point here is not to pretend that talking will bring about world peace; nothing as grand as that. I’m just saying that information sharing is helpful in the community.
Leave a message
On the web, sharing information is the whole thing. People can chat, share, rant, inform, bully, plagiarise, campaign, educate, entertain or whatever. It can be done with words, music, video and asking for people’s views, support, money, ideas and opinions. It’s a worldwide community with a whole network of other groups and connections within it, driving more and more exchanges of information. What makes web sites strong is that they contribute effectively to one, some or all of those communities. In a sense, if a site is inactive for any length of time, it runs the risk of being ignored. Having no one pay any attention consigns a site to obscurity. It would be like arranging a party with no visitors.
The Neighbourgood is intended to be a community that will help strengthen other communities and any contribution to what is going on here is fantastic. That will mean commenting on these posts, sharing them in your own networks, listing support organisations or encouraging others to do so. Or if you are connected to an organisation, adding your details and managing your own listing on the Neighbourgood.
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