Sunday Question – How Does Your Personal Community Flow?

Strange looking question for a Sunday morning, but there’s a purpose to asking it.

I have different levels of friends and associates in my life. In a way, it’s like a funnel, where the smallest part is populated with maybe 4 or 5 people, it goes up slightly from there to the next level, and at a certain point it widens greatly because there are many people I’m friendly with that aren’t exactly my friends; at least I don’t see them that way.

Yet, all of them are a part of my personal community. Every single person fills a need of mine in some fashion, whether it’s a business contact, an email contact, or a familiar face if I show up at a networking event. Every person helps to determine my sociability in different circumstances.

Probably like a lot of you, I’m easily more social online than offline. I don’t go to a lot of parties. I don’t go to a lot of networking events. I determine mentally what’s going to be beneficial for me versus what’s going to be uncomfortable for me. If I’m invited to a party where I may not know anyone except the host, I’m probably not going unless it’s a friend of my wife’s. If there’s a networking event and it’s not at a neutral site, I’m probably not going. In both cases, it’s because I know I’m going to spend significant parts of the event by myself, off in some corner or along some wall just observing what’s going on. And if I’m going to do that then I’d rather just find a seat at the mall; lots more to see.

But I do know people who can step into any situation and suddenly be the life of the party. They’re the ones who are missed when they don’t show up for an event. I’m not that guy.

At least in the regular world. Online, it’s a different story. At a birthday party for a friend of mine that was held at a bar two weekends ago (I don’t drink, and they didn’t have food; ugh) I was asked by one of the folks who follows me on Twitter if I ever went to bed, and how I can keep up with so much data that flows on Twitter even hours later.

I hadn’t realized anyone was paying attention. It seems that, online at least, there are times when I am missed; that definitely throws off some previous thoughts of mine that no one would really miss me if I went away for a period of time, the blog notwithstanding.

So, I’m now kind of acknowledging that I must have a larger personal community than I had imagined; how weird is that? What about you? How do you feel your personal community flows? It is bigger online than offline? How does it differ? And while you’re thinking about that, imagine being a part of this type of community:



48″ Peanuts Holographic Snoopy & Woodstock Lighted Christmas Yard Art


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20 comments on “Sunday Question – How Does Your Personal Community Flow?

  • Mitch, I think you and I are twins, separated at birth (and a very long birth, at that). My wife and I went to a small neighborhood party last night. We’d been invited to several of these over the past few years and always managed to come up with a reasonable excuse for not going. We decided to go to this one, and almost immediately after arriving I remembered why I don’t like these events: I don’t feel like myself when I’m there. I feel self-conscious, awkward, and boring. (Or maybe that is myself. I’m not sure.) We left after one hour, walked into our house, closed the door, and exhaled.

    A few good friends is all you need. Your funnel analogy is perfect: The more friends you have, the more spread out they have to be, which means you can’t be close to too many of them at any one time.

    And online, you’re the life of the party!

    • Exactly Charles. I wish I could be way more open all the time in public, but I feel I must maintain some semblance of control; okay, lots of it. lol

      • :-)I always notice similarities in the three of us … you guys just write a whole lot more than I do! I think I’ve read too many Reader’s Digest magazines in my life.

      • And obviously I haven’t read enough of those Kissie. lol Believe it or not, I’ve been trying to be a bit more cognizant of how many words I’m writing, but it just seems to continue no matter what I do.

  • I realize also how much people who you are in regular contact with online will take notice in things you do in the real world as I call it. I am a pretty sociable person when out and about but I prefer the quiet comforts of my own home. I don’t get out much unless it’s a date here or doing errands and I have more online friends than real world friends. Since I was a kid I was always happier alone I know family members say I’m anti-social but I just prefer to be myself over being in a group or social setting. Unless there is alcohol flowing 😉

    • Since I don’t drink I guess I’m stuck with my own ways, Karen. It’s amazing that I’m more sociable online to tell you the truth; I certainly never started out with that as an intention. But I love interacting with my online community.

  • Hi Mitch

    I think I am becoming more sociable on-line too. Have a few really good frieds off-line whose company I enjoy but also enjoy the peace and quiet in my own home.

    Now I have found my on-line friends understand my blogging dreams and also are going on the same journey so that has been a way to connect with some amazing people in the blogosphere.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • We’re of the same ilk, Pat. Scary thing is that I’ve gotten so used to the online people and how we interact that I sometimes feel like I’m going to forget how to interact with people outside of it; that wouldn’t be good for me at all.

  • It is very similar with me, I am spending time on internet that spending with my friends, but of course there are different levels of friends out there. There are times, when I “explode” usually happened in about 3-4 months, so I make contacts outside with almost everybody. Approach people that I do not know and the funny thing is that we add online contacts on our mobiles.

    • In this day and age, many contacts eventually do go mobile. I can honestly say that’s not me most of the time.

  • I am the same way- if I don’t know anyone at a party or event, you’ll find me in a corner.

    My sister, on the other hand, can go anywhere and find people to talk to. She just never stops! She’s a social butterfly (like my mom).

    I prefer my home, like my Dad did….

    • I prefer home unless I can go out and just watch people without being bothered. I love taking things in; gives me more to write about.

  • Althea Garner says:

    I think that this is pretty normal, Mitch. I post a lot to Facebook (not as often as before, though) and my blog, but I find that a lot more people read, than reply. If I were a sensitive person, this might bother me, but thankfully, I am not. I do interect with a few of my readers out side of the digital world and I can tell from their comments that they have read what I wrote.

    One must accept that there are people out there who like to keep up but because they prefer to maintain their privacy, won’t post (a large number of my family are like that).

    I know from experience that I have to print some of my blogs and hand them to the president of our company because although she is interested, she will never go to my blog. In most cases, I get the instruction to have the article posted on our corporate website because the Prez feels that it is good or pertinent. But ya see…. she’s another one who ddn’t post a response.

    I am also not into parties, preferring the sanctity of my own home.


    • Most of the time, Althea, if people don’t visit the blog then I don’t intentionally show it to anyone. There are a few exceptions, like on my FB business page, but even there I don’t share every post I write. I do get that many people are hesitant to post comments on the blog as well, and some write me here and there so I know they’re getting something out of it sometimes.

      I love parties if I throw them, and if I know I’m going to know the majority of people there; otherwise, I’d rather stay home myself. Of course, I do have to own up to their being a difference if I know there’s going to be cake. lol

  • Weirdly enough, I think that I am more social offline than I am online. With that being said, I know where you are coming from when you talk about networking events. Events with a ton of people that I don’t know are tough for me as well. It is really hard going to events where you don’t know anybody.

    Random networking, while not my favorite thing, is something that I think is very important. I heard a quote somewhere that roughly said, “Business is not about what you know, but who you know”. This has stuck with me and I think it is very true. The bigger your network, whether online or offline, the bigger your business.

    • Good points, Keith, and I’m really trying to amp up my local network. Part of me sees tweetups as a chance to do that, and yet I still don’t think I’ve crossed into the real “influence” part of any of it yet. I could be a bit old for most of the crowd, but I’m still trying. 😉

  • Well I am not a much social person “offline”, meaning that I don’t like big crowds at all, but I do have a set of friends I go out with sometimes, mainly on weekends, and generally I am of the “life of the party” kind.
    It’s rather normal that we tend to be more social online compared to offline, it’s all a lot easier, with the danger that even the perceived “friendship” is easier. You feel to be “friend” with someone while perhaps it’s still a lot too early to be talking about friends at all.

    • It’s an interesting dichotomy, Gabriele. Obviously there are things I’d do with offline friends that I might not even mention online. Yet I’m way more circumspect of new people offline than I am online, which might seem strange but there’s a method of madness to it all. Online there’s a slim to none possibility of someone coming into my house, and thus I don’t have to worry about whether or not I can trust people in my home. But offline there’s always the possibility of dessert; yeah, I went there! 🙂

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