No man is an island

Posted by Talitha Hlaka on 13 July 2016 2:40 PM CAT

A blog motivating why everyone should join a community

When author John Don spoke the words “no man is an island” in his sermon in the 17th century, I doubt he knew how true the words would ring, four centuries later. Even today, we continue to learn how human beings do not thrive when isolated from others; perhaps that’s the reason for the collaboration era we find ourselves in today.

Even though it has become easy to work alone anywhere as long one has a laptop and good internet connection, people still need to engage with colleagues and others in their broader ecosystem – everyone belongs to a community. A community, in collaboration terms, is a process where organisations, business and citizens commit to working together in order to accomplish a shared vision. The role of each member is to contribute some kind of knowledge or know-how in an attempt to achieve that vision, however members’ level of engagement will differ as they mature in the community.

My MD, Janice Scheckter recently shot a video on understanding the collaborative era. She described the collaborative era as “the way people exist both professionally and socially; the way people live, play, work and learn”.  It is safe to say that collaboration has become a lifestyle, one that most people cannot thrive without.

People join communities for varying reasons: shared purpose; shared circumstances; shared practice; or shared interest. An example of a community motivated by a shared purpose is the OneClass online educational community that engages tutors and students in an effort to get better grades, while sharing knowledge with the learners. On the other hand, Social Venture Network, a collaborative community based on shared practice; community members join to impart knowledge and skills. The community supports entrepreneurs and leaders who are using businesses as tools of positive social change. This is part of a large growing community of social entrepreneurs in India, where people are confronting big issues such as hunger and child labour. So, there are plenty of communities out there that one can join, learn from and contribute some kind of resources and knowledge to, in order to accomplish the shared vision.

 I encourage you to find and join a community of interest so you may experience the collaborative era; that’s where the real insight is. I have come to realise that one can only fully understand something when you immerse yourself in it. As a community manager myself, I have joined a community of community managers who help each other with challenges encountered throughout the community management practice. See, as a community manager I don’t have to have all the answers; in fact, I rarely do. But that’s what collaboration is all about, connecting people with answers to those with questions.

If you are interested in joining a community on Education; Corruption; machinery trade; economic development; BEE; or cities, check out Indigo’s offer.


Talitha Hlaka, community manager at Indigo New Media, is a collaboration champion. Talitha is passionate about digital collaboration and uses it as a tool to learn from experts in different fields.


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