If you look up a definition of the word "community", there are so many, and none of them reflects what a community is today.
The two broad definitions that the Oxford English Dictionary gives are (in this very order):
- A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
- The condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common
Both definitions, while playing catch-up to the latest developments in the world, are invariably passive.
Let me expand on this. When the world was much less mobile, a community used to be something that people were born into, something that was defined by a geographical location and the day-to-day physical proximity of individuals to each other.
Also, people may have a particular characteristic in common, although it does not immediately make people a community. If they share certain attitudes and interests, they might constitute a community, but as with the previous definitions, this community is essentially passive.
Community going active
But today in 2018, the notion of community is vastly different from what it used to be and the fundamental change is that it’s transcending from passive to active.
The world is increasingly digital and joining a community is as easy as going online.
There's a multitude of communities today globally, and the process of picking a community to join and joining it has become the one of self-discovery.
You are no longer born into a community or become a part of a community for having a particular characteristic. Instead, you actively discover various groups (or start your own), exchange your thoughts and ideas, and imbibe the information shared in the group.
When you do this, you understand whether you agree with certain things and attitudes or not, and you discover yourself this way, the process shapes your identity. You join and leave and join communities, and each iteration makes you a tighter person. And because the world is very very digital, you do this mostly online, on your device connected to the Internet.
A community essentially is an active process of self-discovery.
It's innate for people to work in groups, so the explosion of communities is no surprise in the connected world. It's natural.
But something else along this process has crept in. While your digital identity traverses the Internet and joins communities, it becomes the commodity. You become the digital commodity that someone else takes profit on.
The content that you generate is sold for profit. The user data that you share is sold for profit. The moment you go online to communicate with other people, work with them, share your ideas and interests, is the moment you are profited on. You are the commodity.
And while your self-discovery through communities is a natural process, the commoditization of you is not.
Communities in the past had to live, and many still do, on platforms that are not transparent in how they operate and the commoditization is obfuscated. The platforms are not transparent because they are centralized.
Decentralization and the Blockchain technology change that. Blockchain transparency is what will shoot communities to the next level. The essence of the immutable ledger is that your every action is always yours. The Blockchain is for you, the individual. This forms trust. And trust is the ultimate catalyst for any community.
There are projects like U°Community that build a transparent community platform with dynamic reputation. Use the platform to create content, interact with people, run your communities, run your business, and even build dApps without having to leave the ecosystem.
Oh, and while you do that, get the Brave Browser too. If someone is profiting on you while you browse the web, you might as well get paid for it.