Day 27: Connecting with Communities

Random Observation/Comment #314: Humans are social creatures. We may be  better at doing work when we’re in our bubble, but the ideas do not enrich the world until it is shared and spread to others in the community.  The ideas do not grow and flourish until others have contributed to it and extended it with new perspectives.  Having easy access to this sharing mechanism for your own personal opinion is extremely powerful.

see lemons community

Why are people addicted to social networks?  I think it goes beyond boredom and cute cat pictures.  It even goes beyond laughing at Rick Rolls and funny stories about everyday life.  It’s rooted in our desire to be heard.  It’s so easy to publish your ideas to your friends and to anyone anywhere connected to the Internet.  It’s actually quite amazing if you think about what you had to do just 10 years ago to get your name and message heard by many.  I guess you could have sent out text messages and mass emails to friends, but now it’s become a few clicks convenient clicks away.  Everyone is a critic and everyone can have a voice.

The Challenge
Contact and connect with multiple online communities (reddit, Rhett and Link, and TED).

The Reason
Reddit, Rhett and Link, and TED are the three main sites I look at throughout the day.  I find it’s an excellent mix of random news, random laughter, and random inspiration.  All of these have become engrained in my routine whenever I have a small pocket of free time on my phone.  And as I watch these videos or read these articles, I learn/smile/laugh at the content of the regular people.  It is a democracy that I have not yet contributed to even when I follow it so intently.  Why not?

For those confused about the communities I’ve listed, here is my quick summary of them:

  • Reddit – Tightly knit community filled with all types of personalities, but mostly ridiculously awesome ones with a great sense of humor.  These’s a subreddit topic for anyone and I think it’s a great open forum area to discuss random things on your mind.
  • Rhett and Link – Two fellows with great ideas that always seem to make me laugh. I feel it’s for a younger audience at times (or maybe for parents and children to watch together), but I like their work and admire their Good Mythical Morning posts.
  • TED – Surprisingly a low number of trolls here. They’re mostly intelligent individuals that comment on topics that they are passionate about.  A lot less arguments and more discussions from both sides.  I feel like there are less negative critiques (like I see on random youtube videos), and more appreciate remarks.

The Result
I spent a few hours just commenting on articles, up-voting, sending emails, and writing commentary on interesting discussions. I got some responses and reached out to some new people from half way around the world.  It was interesting how much I felt like I was a part of something bigger.  The discussions were all about nothing too important, yet my voice was heard and it felt surprisingly warm and fuzzy.

The Conclusion
The interesting thing about these communities is the level of participation from random strangers.  I’ve absorbed so much from them, yet I have not contributed to their conversations or told them my appreciations.  They’ve made it so simple: an upvote, a like, a thumbs up – it’s so easy to tell random people they’re doing a great job and that I’ve at least smiled/laughed/cried from reading/watching/listening to their creativity.

Why do so few contribute? Is it our generation of keeping things private?  Perhaps I just don’t have anything to say.  If this is the case, I am a bit sad.  Shouldn’t we all have our own opinion?  What good is a democracy if only the loudest ones with agendas speak up?  I think this challenge taught me to do the little things that feed the egos of random people that just want to be heard.  Recognition of their existence is more than enough to spread the joy of being important.

~See Lemons Contribute to a Community