Hello, gentle readers! I’m Chally, and I’m the newest blogger around these parts. I’m a university student and freelance writer based in Sydney who is very fond of Doctor Who (well, of course), theatre, baking, literature, guinea pigs, and all that sort of thing. My home on the Internet is Zero at the Bone, and, since I took over from Lauredhel last year, I’ve been running the Down Under Feminists Carnival. You may recall me from such Internettings as Feministe and FWD/Forward, and I’ve guest posted here a couple of times in the past.
I am really happy to be a Hoyden as this has always felt like the place on the Internet I figuratively go to kick back with a bunch of friends and a coffee. And now, as I’m going to be a part of authoring that community, I am having a think. How much of gaining community is about finding it, and how much building it yourself?
Lots of the ways in which we’re expected to build community in our lives don’t really hold, I find. Lots of people have tense or non-existent family situations. Less people, in Australia, anyway, are identifying with religious communities, so it’s not so much about the church fete as a rule anymore. We’re not necessarily living where we grew up, so those intergenerational and lifelong ties don’t necessarily last (unless you’re like my family and keep up ties across multiple countries for a good century or more, because we’re hardcore).
So, how do you build community when you haven’t got an established community drawing you in, or if you decide to leave it? Well, I’m finding that it’s valuable to build up ties in all sorts of ways. I moved house a few months ago, and it’s been lovely building a new community based around my new geography. It feels grounding to recognise and smile at people in my new neighbourhood. I’ve got community, more germane here, that isn’t much based in geography at all: those friends I carry around in my computer! The great thing about the Internet, as we all know, is that you aren’t limited in making friends by where you are. You can build community around the sort of people you want to meet, and that’s not something with which the barriers of offline community tension and disintegration will necessarily interfere. I’m learning to build community in all kinds of ways, a fusion of who I seek and those amazing ties built up by my international family network of amazingness.
How do you build community? I’m looking forward to building this one up with you in new ways.