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I wonder what do we mean by community?

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has changed his ideas on what he thinks of community. See here.

Add your view of what a community is as a comment below.

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Hello Geoff,

Thank you for this thought provoking article!

I did not find definitions of ‘community’ in this article, I read definitions over time of the role of Facebook according to Mark Zuckerberg, the latest being; "Over the last 24 months, Facebook became a way of reversing the “inward” turn away from globalism and technological “progress” by strengthening people’s bonds on the social network." 

I think that it is about him finding out about the importance of real local communities and the sense of purpose it gives to persons. (A sign that this way of thinking-local communities are strong-is developing?)  

It is about his will to use this somehow for Facebook (thanks to its connecting power?).  And he might have the 'idea of a Constellation’… Connecting communities who address challenges.

What do you think?


Here are some views of what a community is:

What do we mean when we speak of a community?/Qu’est-ce que ça veut... by Philip Forth.

Qu'est-ce qu'une communauté? by Eric Jehin.

What is a community? photo of Zenita Nicholson.

What is a community? Philip Forth, Constellation Annual Report 2015, pp.7-9.


Here's just one thought in response: "Community exists for the sake of belonging and takes its identity from the gifts, generosity, and accountability of its citizens." Peter Block, The Structure of Belonging

Cormac Russell Retweeted The Constellation

It is whatever you say it is. It is a word with endless definitions. Another question might be: ‘where is Community for you?’ BW Cormac

Une communauté pour moi c'est un groupe de personne constitué poursuivant un objectif commun pour leur bien être. La plupart de temps ces groupes ont un des dénominateurs communs suivants:

 - partageant le même espace géographique comme résidence ou comme travailleur (quartier, village etc..)
- travaillant dans le même secteur d'activité 
- partageant la même religion
- ayant le même age
- partageant une même langue
- issu d'une même ethnique
- partageant une même étiquette sociale vulnérable (albinos, handicap etc..)
- Issu d'un même groupe professionnel (enseignants, médecin etc...)
- œuvrant pour la même cause ( parents d'élève etc.)
Jeanne darc 

- so many ways to define community, best to ask the people in question: do you belong to a community and if yes, which one? My community would be defined by a shared vision, you might know which one I am referring to

19h19 hours ago

Community is a place or group where people have something in common, it can be a community of interest or a geographical community.

Facebook response

Rebecca Pauls I will never forget the moment, when I learned from John McKnight that "inclusion" means "hospitality."

Community is common unity of the people.

Community for me is a binding force that connect people on the premise that we are all human, connected to earth, and connected to social field

Hi Geoff,

I found this definition

A short definition of community

A colleague recently asked me to define community in 100 words or less. Here is my attempt. What do you think?

A group of people with something in common who consider they have some connection.

Community suggests some form of commonality, whether it be geographic (e.g., neighbourhoods), interest (e.g., communities of practice), a community of identity (e.g., the gay and lesbian community) or virtual (e.g., online communities). Community also suggests boundaries (often self-defined) creating the sense that some people are part of a community and some are not. Different dimensions of community can overlap and interact, particularly in creating community boundaries (e.g., somebody in a specific geographic location might not be considered part of the community because they are too “different”).

2 Responses to A short definition of community

  1. Anonymous says:

    “Community also suggests boundaries (often self-defined) creating the sense that some people are part of a community and some are not.”

    I’d like to comment on the above extract of a definition of ‘comunity’ by the facilator of this discussion. I’m not clear about what he has to say about ‘community’ being suggestive of ‘boundaries.’ Does he mean that there could be ‘sub-boundaries’ within a defined ‘community’. If so I’d be obliged if he could elaborate his point ‘…boundaries (often self-defined’ creating a sense… and some are not.” In this rapidly globalised world, it is indeed very difficult to imagine a situation or context where there could be a ‘sub-community’ within an established community.


    Thanks for the question Ernest.
    By “Community also suggests boundaries” I’m mean that the word community implies that some people are part o the community and some people aren’t. So by boundaries I mean what it is that helps to define who is part of the community and who isn’t. While I wasn’t referring to sub-community, I can imagine there being sub-communities in an established community (if you mean a smaller community within a larger community). An example might be Filipinos living in Newcastle

Thanks Rituu.

you've been doing lots of research. You have experience of many different types of community. In your own words what is community to you?

I’ll add mine soon.


Dear Geoff,

I thought of the multiple communities I am part of. The first and foremost requirement for me in a community is care and love I receive. Then I tend to give back even more. 

This reflection reminded me of a UNDP study I did with networks of those infected and affected by HIV. All mentioned that care was the most important component of the network they were part. We all had a discussion on how this aspect is often overlooked by funding agencies and policy makers. Thanks Geoff for prompting me.


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