Tuesday, April 07, 2009

It's Like Being Back In Levack

I recently saw this interesting video clip of Matthew Ingram (Globe & Mail's Communities Editor) talking about social media at an event in Toronto that was posted by Matthew Burpee.

Ingram talks about social media tools are turning everything into a small town, which has both good and not so good side effects.

It reminds me so much of what it was like growing up in Levack, a small community that is part of the town of Onaping Falls in Northern Ontario about an hour's drive north of Sudbury.

The experience was both extremely wonderful but at times frustrating and constricted. I'm continually conflicted about the great sense of community I grew up with, but also the frustrating "everybody knows your business" aspect of growing up in such an environment. Francine and I continue to speculative about whether or not Alexander would be better off growing up in such a pleasantly quaint community rather than in a city. We still haven't finished lining up the pros and cons, as we're finding they're evening matched. But in any case, I'm delighted for my own experience of having lived and grown in a small town.

Interestingly enough, I've used social media to connect with dozens and dozens of friends, school-mates and other folks from my small town -- it has partly brought back those feelings of community spirit and pride, which is really cool. Part of what makes it even better, though, is the "catching up with old friends" aspect of it. I find it fascinating and wonderful to connect with people I haven't seen in a few decades just to see how they're doing and what they're up to. Interesting stuff. Just this morning, for example, I accepted yet another Facebook friend request from a friend from my old school that I haven't seen in ages. It will be neat to see what he's been up to, where he lives now, etc. It's like a perpetual higgh school reunion.

Which tells you, I suppose, that I must miss that sense of community spirit more than anything, right?


lime said...

i grew up in a small town too and it really is a double edged thing. a sense of community and belonging is so nurturing, but when that community is very prone to excluding those who are just a little different it is crushing. like you though, i so deeply value a sense of community and it's loss is what i mourn.

Melodie Norman Haas said...

I just wrote tonight about my addiction to Facebook. I also grew up in a smaller town that everyone knew your business and had a community feeling. I have since moved to a bigger city but I have really enjoyed re-connecting with my friends from "back home". I am with you on the pros and cons of bigger cities. Luckily where we live there are alot of "small communities" that make up the larger area of "the city" so hopefully when we have children we can find a balance. :)