Zygmunt Bauman (2001) (link) has explored the characteristics of a community. He suggests:
Words have meanings: some words, however, also have a ‘feel’. The word ‘community’ is one of them. It feels good: whatever the word ‘community’ may mean, it is good ‘to have a community’, ‘to be in a community’
I do like this view of community and its has one that has struck me forcefully over the last decade as I have engaged with communities of practice particularly in open courses, open educational resources and the emergence of the hashtag in Twitter (link).
I feel there is nothing wrong with this mix of community, peripherality and centrality. I do think each of us adapts to a role that moves us close to being a driver of a course or series of engagements … or moves us away to a comfortable space where we are monitoring and checking.
I do think this develops as we become more experienced in openness and we start to be selective about what and how we share. And as we relax.
In the last decade I have had two amounts of optimal engagement as direct participant (CCK08) and driver (Sport Informatics and Analytics). More recently, following but not contributing to conversations as a joyful peripheral participant in the #RLadies exchanges on Twitter (link).
I see this latter community as the exemplar of how we might share and where we might go with a continuum of engagement.
I am mindful that divers do have different needs to participants and I understand the desire to change participants’ perceptions of digital presence as a course or resource leader.
However, I do think that in the last decade we have been been provided with a social media that does extend Edward Ayres’s (2013) (link) conversations about digital scholarship, Martin Weller’s consideration of the digital scholar (link) and the changes in academic practice that result from the use of a new technology.