Jason Rand
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I was curious to see how London-based communities are using Ning to connect and learn about the violence erupting out of the Tottenham riots in London, and how they’re also disseminating information. I came across 2 such Ning Networks: W14 and Beckenham Town .us, both London borough communities.

Though not surprising, based on the Latest Activity, I saw a spike in the number of people joining both of these communities in the past few days. But the membership increase and this demonstration in London does not alone account for why people are clamoring to join these Ning Networks now. This got me thinking about why people are coming to these communities in the first place, feeling the need to connect with their borough neighbors in this time of crisis.

Having lived in the London borough of Islington during college, I had an overwhelming sense of trust and immediate comfort whenever I was in my “neighbourhood” – even on my first jet-lagged morning in London. Whether in my corner pub, The Eagle, getting groceries from Budgens or Tesco, or walking to the tube stop closest to my flat, I often forgot that I was but 1 person amidst an urban population of more than 12 million.

In my role at Ning, what I’ve heard many times from Ning Creators and community members is that they have the same overwhelming sense of trust and a desire to share with people impacted in the same ways that they are – whatever the influence – their Ning communities transform into neighborhoods much like the ones we call home in the real world. This immediate sense of trust and authenticity are the best qualities I see born out of such Ning communities.

Tragedies aside, the London protest presents an exemplary reason why communities, whether based on geographic location, common interests, religious or political views, health concerns, or professional endeavors, are where we naturally gravitate toward as the source for information, help, support and camaraderie during times of need.

August 9 Latest Activity on W14 (http://w14london.ning.com):
W14 (http://w14london.ning.com) screenshot

August 9 Latest Activity on Beckenham Town .us (http://www.beckenhamtown.us):
Beckenham Town .us (http://www.beckenhamtown.us) screenshot