Musing on Identity and community

Ancient Times, Hither Asia
Image via Wikipedia

Communities have always existed and people have given them different names for it. In ancient times the community was about a place. Every village was a community. Every tribe a different community.

As civilisation took root, the ideas of a community became more and more complex. We had communities based on regions, nations (all based on place) , communities based on professionas (what we do – which was taken to an extreme in India – with caste)

The interesting thing to note is that one’s community becomes one’s network – you get access to a certain world view, specialised skills and knowledge – and are better equipped to deal with certain opportunities.

Then came modern education and training and it lowered the barriers to access but not substantially so. If you could afford it you could be anything.

And then came the online world – which lowered the access to resources and therefore skills.

You could have been a Chartered Accountant’s child, or a Doctor’s but you could become a writer, artist, photographer, programmer.

Now with ubiquitous access to the net and cheap access devices like the Akash tablet we are bound to see the barriers come crashing down even more, with anyone who wants to getting access to the best teachers and resources to learn skills one wants to learn.

The online world also has communities. Communities of people learning something (skill or talent communities), communities of people interested in solving problems (activist communities, support communities) or communities of interests (lifestyle communities, brand communities).

Earlier communities were the source of your identity.

Now, you can choose your identity and join your community.

So will you choose your identity based on who you are or who you want to be?

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