Editor's desk: My community

My community

I had an odd moment of lucidity a couple of hours ago while recording tomorrow's episode of The TV Show with my friend Dave Wiskus. We were talking about HBO's True Detective and I was recounting how I watched most of it on the plane ride to and from San Francisco for WWDC 2014, and how we had on-board Wi-Fi on the way out but not the return trip. I'd never had it on Air Canada before but after having had it I instantly felt cut-off and disconnecting when I no longer had it. Today it occurred to me that a large part of the reason for that feeling was community. My community exist online and becoming disconnected from it I can only equate to walking out of my hut and suddenly, terrifyingly finding my village empty, devoid of family, friends, and neighbors.

I don't know whether that's a good thing or bad. A joyous thing or sad. But I do know that, in every way that defines it, my community is truly online. Mobile Nations is my community, Kevin, Phil, Daniel, Derek, and Adam. iMore is community, Peter, Ally, Richard, and Joe. Podcasts are my community, Georgia, Guy, Dave, Don, Marc, Matt, and Seth. You are my community in our forums, in the comments, and on Twitter.

Time remains the same but space has been warped by the internet such that I am far from the people who are close and close to people who are far. I know my physical neighbors to say hello to but nothing more. I know my virtual friends in a way that would previously only have been possible hunkered around a news desk or broadcast studio, or around a card table or at a bar.

You are the people I test ideas and opinions with, learn from and fight with, share experiences about apps and movies and TV shows and books and technology and everything else that fills our lives. You're the ones I'm doing #mobilefit with, watching the World Cup with, and waiting for the Game of Thrones finale with.

And you're the ones I miss when the internet goes down, as sorely as I'd have missed my village if I ever walked out of my hut to find them all gone.

What a crazy, wonderful, lonely, exciting world we've become.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

How to take a photo or shoot video using the volume up button with your iPhone or iPad

Next up →

Apple brings Bitcoin apps back to the App Store

Reader comments

My community


An interesting observation Rene. Recently there have been many comments in tabloids that suggest social networking sites are causing less direct contact with friends and family and that as a result we are all becoming more reclusive in some way. I am not a 'social' person however social network sites such as Facebook and both the imore site and forum actually provide a sense of community and conversation which otherwise I would not have. I too would feel somewhat cut off, even isolated without it. Your observation that your community is now largely online is therefore very real and probably applies to a good many others too.

It's a special place you've all built. I'm glad it is as meaningful to you as it is to everyone else.

Sent from the iMore App

The same is said for us who are gay, trans, queer. For many of us, myself included, our only connection to larger GLBT community is online, especially if we live in small towns or very conservative areas. Me, while most of my few friends are gay men, I am the only trans in our group, and I find resources particular to me online instead. I also live very far from old friends and family, so if the Internet is out, I feel that disconnect, too. Many of us who are very niche feel that.

Sent from the iMore App

The great sci-fi author Isaac Asimov wrote a novel in 1957 called The Naked Sun. The plot involved a planet named Solaria which had developed into an isolationist culture where people only met face-to-face for reproductive purposes. All other contact was via ‘telepresence’ very much like the social media of today. Asimov believed this culture to be dystopian in nature.

Anyone who has used social media knows the pitfalls of misunderstanding the intent, the purpose, the emotional nuances of an online conversation without the human interaction of facial expressions, body language, and the like. What you consider to be a friendly jibe or tease may be interpreted as a personal attack by the recipient because he/she is not looking you in the eye for interpretation.

I have personally witnessed, at a baseball game, two young women sitting right next to each other yet they never spoke a word or actually looked at one another. Their entire ‘conversation’ was through texting. That was incredibly sad to me.

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl commit to each other.

They have children.

He is also commited to a robust online life (Mobile Nations, developers, podcasts, conferences). For better and for worse, he has children to come back to and not feel too dependent on social Web.

And they lived happily ever after commiting to each other.

René I say this in all seriousness and respect.

Exactly what I was thinking. With a partner and small children at home, I definitely would miss my internet, since the children love their Netflix, but not for my my social life. That side is definitely not centered around online connections.

You really need to sit down with Georgia in a significantly more defined Doctor / Patient relationship. She MAY be able to bring you back to reality from where you've drifted....

Get a grip.