Make the Community. Respect the Scene

August 22nd, 2012

I keep a running polemic – in my head – about Community. I’m no expert, but I spend lots of time thinking about and observing communities. Personally, I’ve always found Community to be too buttoned-up for my addiction to those things novel, uncertain, complex, and challenging. I get too sedentary hanging with Community and quickly start jonesing to look for unpredictable energy, conversations, and relationships.

I know this is a piece of straight-up (alcohol) advertising, but I get drawn in every time:

I want in! For me, this spruces up Community to look a bit more like a Scene. I want to hang in that Scene. To me Scene

  • is exciting
  • incorporates and includes communities
  • brings plenty of collective cool: an attractive gathering; a novel place to get together; empowering
  • is the right kind of noisy
  • has conversations breaking out all over the place
  • is pretty (and, I like pretty)
  • has flow, color, rhythm, lots of base
  • let’s you know that it’s fine to dance and okay to chuckle or even laugh
  • brings surprises
  • might give you a prize
  • causes a commotion – looks away to let others look at you (makes folks stop and look)
  • dares you to sit still – it makes you tap your toe and bob your head
  • lets you come and go without judgment
  • captures moments
  • doesn’t give you and easy or obvious way to join together
  • likes drama
  • might foster consensus
  • doesn’t have organizational ties that are strong
  • might be a movement or part of movement building
  • gives a way to find “the commons”
  • values personal autonomy and style
  • does not hand you a flyer, poster, club card, or write a press release
  • reminds you that buy in is not required – you can just show up or participate as you’re able
  • creates its own space
  • has its own common sense of what should be
  • may not fit the accepted logic of “the system”
  • could be more of an urban thing
  • is open to those who get it, no matter who your people might be
  • is hard to maintain
  • pays attention to hipness
  • will not allow fakes
  • can be aspirational – even dreamy – but tends to take the world as it is
  • is close by
  • is interesting – incorporates art, music, design, lifestyle, and travel into the overall experience
  • keeps open spots for outsiders
  • makes its own civic norms
  • just shows up
  • rarely hands you an invitation
  • carries passion that does not demonize (other people and their passion)

I also appreciate that Scene has a clear set of thinkers, influencers, and personalities, but has few people who call themselves leaders.  Scene also speaks to me about being awake and alive all the time.

We often give props to Community – we build it up, praise it, and cherish it. I’m giving a shoutout to Scene. I run into Scene more often and hope I can remember to put my work in to give it the props it deserves, too. Here’s to a year of good and loving communities and paying more attention to scenes.


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