Back in November 2011, I had the opportunity to present on the topic of community trust at TEDxSFU. Community is an abstract concept, and as an audience member I found it interesting to observe the way in which different speakers attempted to define it.
The Definition of Community
During the event, some speakers expressed a more traditional perspective on community; while others described community from a more progressive perspective. Some focused on the importance of control and structure in community; while others emphasized individuality and freedom. Below are a few quotes to help illustrate how different some of the community perspectives were:
"Governments at all levels are now legislating consultation and need more accurate tools to validate their decision making... We've had some online consultation thus far, but it's met with varying degrees of success... because consultation has been largely anonymous and does not stand up to scrutiny." - Speaker 1 (Structure Oriented)
"Social media is revolutionary in velocity and scale. It's being used as a tool for revolutions and the effect it's going to have on Government is going to be massive... Like we've seen in Egypt, in London and in Occupy, geeks are resourceful and they'll find ways to get information out." - Speaker 2 (Individuality Oriented)
In my opinion, community isn't defined by any one of these perspectives - community is defined by all of them. Like any human concept, community is full of paradoxes and contradictions. Only by embracing these contradictions can you begin to understand what truly creates a community.
The Topic of Community Trust
For those of you that are interested, below is a video from my presentation at TEDxSFU. Like all research we conduct, it attempts to unify and explain contradictions in human motivation. In this case, it looks at the topic of community trust among leaders and public institutions.