Community Building: Community is not Crowd

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Concert Crowd (Osheaga 2009) - 30000 waiting for Coldplay

Community Building: Community is not Crowd.

Funny but with all these crowd sourced sites such as Wikipedia, Yelp, My Trip Advisor you could almost be seduced into thinking; crowd equals community.

We are all quite aware that now that we are interconnected through the internet, community has been redefined, it’s much broader than geographical location.

Yes community is defined by more than geography but don’t for one internet, social network, hyper connected nano-second believe that community has become crowd. It hasn’t. It isn’t.

People Holding Hands in the Park

Community is different than crowd.

We no longer have to live in close proximity to be a part of a community. Thanks to the digital age you and I can find an online community, a place we share affinities, passions, interests, beliefs and or values and engage in real life or online.

In communities both on and off line people act much different than they do in a crowd. In communities people connect, they join hands, share resources, engage in the wonderful human act of ‘knowing’ each other. The personal act of engaging, coming to know, participate and interact differentiates communities from crowds.

Crowds aren’t personal they are large.

Communities can be large or small but they are a place where individuals relate to one another; personally.

In a crowd you can remain a stranger, lonely though not alone.

In a community people know your face, your avatar, the tone of your voice, your way of being. You are a part of the whole, a member.

In a crowd you can remain isolated, un-engaged.

It’s hard to remain isolated in community, oh it can be done. But disengaging within a community is obvious and because communities orbit on personal connections and relationships disengagement is both felt and noticed.

Crowds don’t change the world; individuals do; individuals who create empowered communities.

In a crowd you can keep your mask on.

In a community you are unveiled. Known.

Loneliness is more likely in a crowd, less so in a community.

So are you part of a crowd or a community? Isolated or engaged? Known or in hiding? What might be possible in your life if you were to step out of the crowd, join hands and engage in rich, meaningful community?

Life was meant to be shared.

Pam Hoelzle

pam @

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