Monday, December 3, 2007

Does Blogging Hurt Community?

The Flier last week pulled together an impressive package of stories about what people think our fair town these days. One that seemed to stay with us profiled CA Board member Pearl Atkinson-Stewart.

Here's the passage that caught our eye:

"Rouse designed Columbia's village centers, pathway system, neighborhood pools, interfaith centers -- even its shared mailboxes -- in such a way as to encourage face-to-face encounters between residents.

"But that intimacy might be lost as people focus more of their attention on technology and cars instead of neighbors and community, said Atkinson-Stewart, who lives in Owen Brown.

"For example, people today prefer to voice their opinions and concerns in blogs rather than speaking to one another, as they used to, she said. Residents also are concerned about crime and therefore tend to spend less time interacting with neighbors."

The first time we read that we nodded our head in knowing agreement. We recognized something about ourselves there. There can be a detachment in all this electronic communication. And surely, the blogosphere can be a rough place at times, the very antithesis of civility in Howard.

But the more we thought about it, the more we realized how much blogging has allowed us to re-engage in our community. Our mailbox is now full of notices about Christmas cookie swaps, movie nights and blogger meet-ups (we really really do want to get out to one of those, we promise!)We converse regularly with neighbors we might never have met before. We hear different viewpoints.

Plenty of bloggers out there working very hard to build community -- just spending a little time tooling around the pages of Hometown Columbia, as an example.

Sometimes being online is the best way to discover the world offline.

1 comment:

John G. Boyle said...

"Sometimes being online is the best way to discover the world offline."

I couldn't agree more.

That's what enabled me to take my first baby-steps into community involvement :)