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People Are Talking

How do a group of people become a community? Are the people who show up at church every Sunday a community? What about that group of guys shooting pool at the neighborhood bar? Or those moms chatting on the park bench as they watch their kids play? And those Star Trek fans, sitting alone in their living rooms, watching the same TV show week after week— are they a community?

Well, the answer depends on how you define the term. I remember being at a conference in Los Angeles and listening to a parade of Hollywood executives brag about the size of their “communities.” I was confused at first, until I realized that they were referring to the people who watched their TV shows and movies. What mattered to these executives was their ability to estimate audience size and demographics—they didn’t give a hoot whether their “community members” were talking to each other.


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