The internet has changed the way we define community.
We still live in a community where we know our neighbors and friends through our churches, schools and various organizations.
However, internet communities offer the advantage of instant information exchange that is not possible in a real-life community. This interaction allows people to engage in many activities from their home such as shopping, paying bills and searching for specific information. Users of online communities also have access to thousands of specific discussion groups where they can form specialized relationships and access information in such categories as politics, technical assistance, social activities, health and recreational pleasure.
Unique, long-distance relationships were formed during the early days of group email lists, message boards and online forums. Whatever our hobbies or interests, many of us have benefited from sharing ideas, swapping stories and soliciting advice with fellow enthusiasts.
As you’ll read in the pages of this magazine, creative folks like artists, bakers, photographers, carpenters, seamstresses and metalworkers all use broadband to enhance their skills or to even turn their passions into moneymakers.
Even if your hobbies don’t involve creating anything tangible, your broadband connection from NCTC has likely helped you find joy in your interests.
There are hundreds of active online communities for gaming, hunting, hiking, gardening, music, genealogy, sports and more just waiting for new members to plug in. Many of these are global groups that would be impossible to assemble if not for the reach of broadband networks like ours.
Personally, I’m thankful to know that artisans and craftspeople from our region have a chance to share work that celebrates our local culture. Through their skill, they hopefully earn money to support themselves, as well as export our culture to the rest of the country to help ensure our way of life thrives.
There is more good news for anyone wanting to learn those old ways — or something new. Whether it’s refinishing furniture, replacing a headlight, or learning to play the guitar, there are probably videos from experts on YouTube to walk you through the learning process step by step. This is the kind of skills library that has never before been available. Thanks to broadband, it’s right at our fingertips.
While I normally use this space to tout the big-picture societal benefits of broadband — such as economic development, educational opportunities or telemedicine — I think it’s important to remember the hundreds of small ways a broadband connection makes our lives a little better.
Whether you’re learning a new skill or sharing community with fellow enthusiasts, we’re proud to be the company in the middle that helps you make those connections.