I've been running in circles for the last few weeks, trying to figure out what community is. It seems deceptively simple, yet the more I uncover, the more perplexed I become.
A common definition of community is simply 'a group of people,' which isn't incorrect. But, to me, that isn't useful.
"A community is a group of people united by meaningful similarities."
Hmm. That sounds a bit better. But it's still not there yet.
"A community is a group of people united by meaningful similarities. They are bound together by shared stories."
Ah. This feels better.
How do stories relate to communities?
They help us forge a shared understanding of the world.
Stories are crafted to resonate with people bound by commonalities.
Communities exist because people desire to be with others who see the world similarly.
Communities and stories are mutually reinforcing. Communities manifest collective beliefs, while stories are artifacts that define and strengthen their identity.
Both are essential.
So we need to craft the right story for the right community at the right time.
Why is this important? Because emotionally compelling stories inspire action.
A story that evokes emotion inspires action, especially when simple enough to be shared, capturing people's imagination with its themes and symbolism.
This inspired action fosters a deeper commitment to the community, igniting a desire to fully embrace its mission. This ignition is the catalyst that propels communities towards achieving their goals.
We want thriving communities.
A community thrives when people believe in it
What inspires belief in a community? The perception that it reflects one's worldview.
Therefore, craft stories that mirror how the community perceives the world.
Research their worldview. Use resonant language, employ powerful images and metaphors, and weave compelling lore. Test and refine your approach, nurturing the community's growth gradually.