“Each man reads his own meaning into New York.” – Meyer Berger
Over 50 people from all over the world are going to meet in the center of the biggest city in the United States this weekend. Why?
Because they connected with each other.
The Internet is a funny thing. It’s full of marketing, knowledge, conspiracy theories and most importantly, community. A community doesn’t simply because it is intelligently designed, it grows because of its members. It grows from relationships.
Taking the time to discover one another is what makes this space special for those that embrace it. This isn’t an annual convention where you swap business cards and shake hands, this is a place where you converse. You express your ideas and you share them.
Think of it as a bulletin board with no threads, no specific topics, just a blank wall of paper that you can write whatever you want. Odds are, given enough people, someone will find your message intriguing. They will relate to it and they will connect with it. After that initial connection, if the conversation continues long enough, a relationship will grow from it.
Before the sun rises on Friday I’m taking a flight to New York City to visit a bunch of people I have never shook hands with, because that’s not what’s important. I don’t have their cellphone numbers, I don’t know where they work, I know who they are.
Relationships are the most important things to grow. Just like plants, they need to be watered every once in a while, but if you learn to keep up with them, they will eventually blossom into something beautiful.
The connections with the people I’m going to meet are stronger that the connections I have with most of the people I interact with in my own local (physical) community. Their are a handful that share unique passions with me and others that share the same creative spirit that I maintain. But most importantly, they are all enthusiastic.
No, we don’t agree on anything, and every time we have a debate we walk away learning something new. Finding a perspective we might not have had before. The reason we find those perspectives and we learn those new things is that we all listen.
If we all wrote on the giant bulletin board and no one took the time to read anyone else’s message, there wouldn’t be much community. Community and communication have a lot in common. They’re both two-way processes. So, remember, you can only get as much out of this as you put into it.
I look forward to finally “meeting” all of the people I already know this weekend and can’t wait to tell you the stories from my experiences in doing so.