EVERY NOVEMBER, in the sleepy village of Cong, County Mayo, I try to join 80 other people to share my perspective on a major topic. In November 2019, the topic will be about "community" and I plan to update this blog post to share thoughts that extend from a blog post I've made about what community means to me.
Community means mailing lists to me. I saw this community spirit in the late 1990s when I first noticed how full stops between words communicated passive aggression. Years later in Cong, I sat across from Sean McGrath as we shared memories arising from a mailing list about the technical evolution of RSS feeds. Sean was one of the key members of an internet engineering community who helped articulate how information would be seamlessly shared across websites during the last century. Now that same elegant technical specification for Really Simple Syndication (RSS) distributes podcasts without any central control.
Community also means Communities of Practice. I stumbled upon a vibrant COP after connecting to Catherine Cronin. Today I seek out education conference through which I can hear the respected voice of Catherine Cronin during a keynote presentation.
Community watering holes change as new technologies become mainstream. In 2019, I've fallen into the rabbit hold of Instagram stories. Some of those stories offer snippets of life from the ebullient Maryrose Lyons. My use of a digital dictaphone at a dinner table sparked a memorable session of discussion 17 years ago with me and my wife about the protocols of recording public conversations. I wonder how Maryrose would have expressed her alarm if Instagram stories had been available back then.
I'll update this blog post in the run-up to #Cong19, occasionally pointing to audio Congversations as they drop.
[You can subscribe to the audio version of Congversations through your favourite app or listen to Congversations on Spotify. Bernie Goldbach teaches his creative media students about effective community initiatives in practical session on the Clonmel Digital Campus of the Limerick Institute of Technology.]