Seth Godin posted an interesting blog this week on the "economics of Christmas lights". In it he makes a few interesting points about community and the value of connecting with those around us:
Why bother buying them, putting them up, electrifying them and then taking them down again?
After all, the economist wonders, what's in it for you?
The very same non-economic contribution is going on online, every single day. More and more of the content we consume was made by our peers, for free. My take:
People like the way it feels to live in a community filled with decorated houses. They enjoy the drive or the walk through town, seeing the lights, and they want to be part of it, want to contribute and want to be noticed too.
Click in to read the rest of it. It's pretty short and goes on to talk about the value of the Internet and how it helps us share with one another very easily.
This kind of reasoning makes the case for doing something different in your work community as well. Instead of another faceless telephone conference, give an online meeting a try. Using WebEx, you can see up to six people face to face -using webcams - and getting to see one another makes all the difference.