Connected CommunityEvery community has good things and bad. Some people may dominate. Some voices may be lost or, worse, unheard. Everything may look imperfect. Some things may look too perfect. It is no different in social media communities.

Two years ago, Twitter saved my life. This sounds dramatic, I know, yet there is a kernel of truth in the statement. My physical community seemed to be roadblocked. My core seemed to be drying out. I was uninspired. When I began to tap into the conversations happening through Twitter, it was like striking a spirited spring. It was more than the 140 character messages gushing through; it was the content of the characters behind the tweets. It was enlivening. Something sparked.

Communities age. It is no different in social media communities. They may show a little age in the way cliques have developed or how some of it all begins to sound the same with cookie-cutter formulas and messages. A positive thing about social media communities, though, is that there seems to be an almost endless stream of new people to engage. In fact, if you move beyond your “usuals,” there are people who are sharing a compelling message or story. It is important, from time to time, to move beyond your comfort zone and meet new neighbors, gain new insights.

Having said this, it is time for me to move back to connecting to my real community. Although I will continue to be involved in my social media circles, I realized that a social media community without a real face-to-face community has a hollow feel to it. My belief is that my social media community experience will be enhanced by having more real connections and conversations in my immediate physical community.

I am not a hermit. I live in a real neighborhood. I work in a real office. I am “connected” in, yet I just don’t feel like I have a real circle of mutually supportive relationships. To often, we feel like an individual in a crowd, silos standing in a field. We need to feel like individuals connected in a community, supportive and interactive, writing a better life story together. Just as the aspen trees do, I need to have that rooted foundation in which an above ground life can spring.

What is my plan then? I haven’t figured it all out, but my working thoughts are to try to start a monthly group of people who are interested in discussing self-leadership topics. It may be breakfast or lunch group. It may be a dinner group. Whatever it ends up being, it will be a group willing to engage in conversations on how to do more and be better in all that we do — business and life.

If you are reading this in the north Dallas area, let me know if you are interested in joining in the conversation and building a real, connected community. You can join the newly created  Meetup – Authentic Leadership Dallas. We need a spark in our communities, and I am ready to get to work.

What is your split between sharing in a face-to-face community and sharing in a social media community? I am interested in your thoughts and perspectives on building communities within a 6-mile radius of where you live. What works?