By ARAS TOKER
Analysis on peer accountability focused community building efforts in making lifestyle changes through digital therapeutic programs
Before we jump ahead to the medicine piece, what the heck does a community even mean? In the past, communities were more likely associated with a group of people living in the same physical location such as a neighborhood, school, or a town. I remember my neighborhood soccer community very well, for instance. Instead of being born into or trying to fit in, community is something we choose for ourselves and express our identities through. With the advancement of accessing the high-speed internet globally, today’s community has no physical or geographical boundaries.
Community builder Fabian Pfortmüller brilliantly explains the difference between communities and other groups. He asserts that unlike project teams or companies who are optimizing for external purposes (collective goals); communities optimize for internal purposes (the relationship and the shared identity). His definition of a community deeply resonated with me and the communities that I had the opportunity to build.
Pfortmüller’s definition of community
Caring and Belonging
From my own community building experiences, I truly believe that caring relationships between members and a shared sense of belonging are the two main components that separate a tight-knit community from an average one. The members actually give a damn about each other. When people care about each other, they develop trust. According to Pfortmüller trust unlocks collaboration, sharing, support, hope, safety and many more intangible emotions.
Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times bestseller author, has studied the health habits of people who live in “Blue Zones” — 5 regions of the world where people live far longer than the average. He noted that a sense of community, belonging and positive friendships are some of the most common themes in the Blue Zones.
Blue Zones LLC
In this fascinating research study the world’s oldest people chose social circles that supported healthy behaviors and believed that they