The next thing you know, we're in the chat talking about what Marvel heroes each of us would be. Natalya started grabbing pictures and mashing them together, then took those images and mashed up a wallpaper image. In the span of only a few days, we have this little slice of awesomeness:
Image heavy lifting and assembly by Natalya Waye. Thanks, Natalya!
Two things of note here:
1) I am astounded at the speed of online community rivaling the speed of thought itself. Ever since the Winter Is Coming blogfest went from idle chatter to advertised event in about an hour in September 2011, this speed shouldn't surprise me. And yet, here I sit, groping my cubicle floor in a vain attempt to find my jaw.
2) I have never met about a third of the people pictured in meatspace, but this image crystallized in my mind that we share a community. Period. Full stop. "Online" modifier label be damned. This is my tribe, one of many to which I belong. We don't always agree, but we continually decide to keep putting effort into the relationship, to understand what lies outside the realm of our personal experiences because we matter to each other.
We're more than avatars and username headers tied to bits of text scrolling by on a screen. People come up with all those bits of text and every idea you read, and people choose to shape ideas into words and share them. Why? The ideas mean something; they're important on some level to the person giving them form.
We can all use an occasional reminder that we're all people, whether the words you read make you angry or happy or sad or whatever. A person sits on the other end of the conversation whether you agree with them or not, and maybe their life experiences have been very different from yours.
Minor edit: we're all people until Skynet builds the Turing Horde and corrupts humanity through social media. But hopefully that day is a ways off yet. I'm not touching AI rights and the rewrite of the Constitution that would require.
Back on point: I think communities rock. What about you?