by Steve Gailey 8. November 2014 10:07



Everyone accepts that the concept of community, at least in the developed world, has suffered as technology has developed. Certainly I remember as a small boy constantly being in the neighbours houses, my parents frequently chatting with them over the fence and our front door always open with people popping in and out seemingly all day long. Everyone knew everything about everyone. If someone had a problem then people would rally around to help. There were very few secrets of course; that level of familiarity makes it almost impossible, but the upsides largely outweighed the down.

This type of close and supportive local community, whilst not gone from our world is certainly less common now. Imagine then how excited I was to realise that it is still alive and well and expanding in cyber-space. Far from everything online being bad, the level of community in some areas mirrors the old style local communities I remember from my childhood. Oh it is slightly different now. Having someone’s children access your computer is somehow worse than having them access your house…

Last week I was enjoying a staycation (a weeks holiday at home) and decided to do some work on my Land Rover. I had bought all the parts to fit a second battery (to power auxiliary equipment) and a split charging system to ensure that the alternator charged both but that they were separated with the engine off to ensure that I couldn’t flatten my starting battery. The installation itself was pretty simple, except for the fact that the two batteries didn’t initially fit in the compartment together so I had to turn them sideways and then fashion a new mounting bracket on my forge (doesn’t everyone have a home forge) to hold them in place. After that I wired in the split charging system took her for a spin.

To my frustration the 180A relay linked and unlinked the two batteries continuously on a 5 second cycle. I checked my wiring and everything seemed to be as described so I sought out a community to help me. It didn’t take long to find a couple of online forums for Land Rover drivers and after joining I posted my questions. Within minutes I had help and suggestions about possible problems from people who had done the same thing. Armed with my new found information I soon identified the problem, a loose connection in the battery charger controller, and everything was as it should be.

Had my problem been with something else I’m certain that I could have found the appropriate community to reach out to for help. The community may no longer be made up of my close friends and neighbours but now can span the world and every member is an expert in whatever my problem might be that day. There is still no privacy, if someone wishes to find me on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter so not much has really changed there.

The spirit of community is strong in the human psyche and it didn’t die, it just moved online. Community is alive and well, it has just moved with the times. Now please excuse me as I have some questions to answer on some online forums.



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