Why Community Matters Now, More Than Ever


by Anna McAfee

“What tribes are, is a very simple concept that goes back 50 million years. It’s about leading and connecting people and ideas. And it’s something that people have wanted forever” says Seth Godin.

You’d have to be living under a rock to not have recently heard the words ‘community’ and ‘tribe’. But why does it matter so much, and why does it matter now?  We need to take a look at the world, where we are as individuals, and where we are as a collective.

But what is a community?  As individuals, we are members of multiple groups of people, which are defined by geography, work, study, interests, online social networks, and online group participation.


The lack of real community

As humans, we have a basic need for community but modern lifestyles are squeezing this out.  Community is more and more absent from the way we live our lives.  We have evolved in tribes, and always lived and hunted as groups, but we are living more isolated lives online and not interacting with individuals and groups around us.  Social change has meant that many of us have moved away from where we grew up, and we don’t have a support network around us. It’s alarming that for many it’s becoming the norm to go for days without seeing another human face to face.   

The internet and social media have created unprecedented opportunities for connection across the globe.  A hyper-connected world, always online, has provided considerable advantages, with greater opportunities for remote work and flexibility, in particular for women.  We have information at our fingertips and the ability to find customers and build business relationships remotely. 


At what cost though? 

Where there is an upside, there is also a downside.  Social media is eating humans. Estimates show that 2.95B people on Earth (one-third of humanity) will use social media by 2020. It connects us in ways we’ve never before seen or imagined. It disconnects us in ways we take for granted. In a time when social media shapes our worldview and drives our daily interactions, we need to define a new balance between online and offline, between global and local, and between virtual and reality.  Modern life is creating a human connection gap, there is a lack of social cohesion around us and less of a sense of belonging.


What we can and are doing about it

Photo by Slava Bowman on Unsplash

In recent years there has been a shift towards authentic connection in what has become a fast, technologically advanced world. Social media has added so much to our world and our businesses but we have lost something in the process. We have become accustomed to defining ourselves by the job we do, who we know, and how many likes we get.  Yet we are so much more than the superficiality of all those things.

As a result of the change, we are seeing a shift in consumer demands and a craving for a more human experience.  In our DNA there is a desire to be a part of a community, or multiple communities, that supports us and helps us grow.

Brands and companies are expected to deliver a more human experience to their customers and followers.  We now have #O2O movements (online to offline) and #H2H (human to human) delivery of content, products, and services. 

Another example of this change is the #letsgethonest campaign in late 2017 and re-run again in 2018.  26 million people shared their failures and weaknesses via content, on the basis that what we share as humans aren’t perfections and successes, but universal flaws and failures.

Online brands such as Fiverr and Asana are now delivering a community experience to customers and contributors.  #LinkedInLocal, a campaign to take online connections offline and come together to meet in groups face-to-face, has spread to over 85 countries in less than two years.  We continually see the rise and growth of Facebook communities for like-minded people, anything from mothers groups to soul-centered entrepreneurs, there is a Facebook group for literally everything.


Bridging the Human Connection Gap 

Even in a digital world, it is so important to build our own “villages” to support us. Social isolation is damaging to health, education, business, and society.  As humans, we need to find the balance between an increased need for privacy, and shutting ourselves off from the world.  Human interaction must be meaningful and when we recognize this we need to picture what our own ideal in-person villages look like and use technology for good in order to seek them out.




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4 Replies to “Why Community Matters Now, More Than Ever”

  1. Jo-Anne Logan-Milne

    I was driving my 8 year old son home from his second guitar lesson at a private tutors house near the beach. The sun was setting and, unlike where our house is in town, we could see the hills and sunset really beautifully as we travelled. I was telling my son that I was impressed with the effort that he had made in his school cross country run that afternoon. But he was not taking any notice of what I was saying. He was gazing up at a flock of birds. I said are you listening? He replied, why are they flying in a flock? I replied because they enjoy being together, it’s like their friends and family. I discovered this blog tonight and saw your photo of the birds sitting together on the power lines and well, it was just the same thing I was tbinking when I saw those birds in the sky with my son. We all enjoy company and a sense of belonging is very important. LinkedIn Local is a awesome idea! and I am glad I have found it!

    1. Anna McAfee[ Post Author ]

      Thanks Jo-Anne, you’re right we do really need a sense of belonging. in a digital world so many of us are forgetting this. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Andrada Anitei

    Wonderful and very needed!

  3. Lynn Churchill@Emerge Triumphant

    I love the move to get people personally connected! Thanks for the LinkedInLocal reminder. I belong to a local Meetup, but a LinkedIn group would be beneficial as well.

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