When talking about culture, communities and connections it is but natural to think in conjunction with new media, social media or social participative media.
However, often the emphasis is so much on the technology part that the people and process part gets scarce attention.
The reality however is that (whether within the enterprise or out of it) even the most simple technology can be used and can get accepted and to the despair of many a CTO and CIO the audience refuses to bite the most sophisticated silver bullet of systems put in place. It is the engagement of the people involved that decides the excitement and effectiveness.
Take for instance a seemingly small matter of a bloom. At first instance to the untrained observer this may even border on a P G Wodehouse kind of quality that lends itself to the whole event.
But from my perspective gleaned out of more than a decade of working with teams, this sharing by Preshit (pronounced Prey-sh-eit ) on twitter represents an amazing story especially because it brings together many things I love- Mumbai, Trees, Culture, Community, Media.
Preshit is as described on his profile 'A 21-year-old Blogger, Webmaster, Content-manager, Apple-lover, Mac-user, iPod-listener, Twitter-boy, IT student who loves travelling, photography and adventure sports.'
First about the plant and the flower that blooms only once a year at midnight (Pics here) and as described on flickr set by him;
1) Has flowers only once every year
2) Each flower is attached directly to the leaves and not to the branch.
3) One leaf may have upto 4 flowers, even 5 in some cases.
4) Each flower blooms fully at 00:00 hours.
5) The flowers have a characteristic serene smell
6) They are offered to the Hindu Lord Shankara as his favorite flower.
@Preshit was simply answering ' What are you doing' as he used Twitter, Blog, Phone, Camera, Ficker Photo album and I'm sure if he had a recorder it could also be on You Tube to share stuff.
The updates from around 5 p. m to mid-night, gave updates on the crowds gathered, how his grandmother wanted it covered by media, the importance of the event as evident in this, and also a request for a camera!
It elicited responses from people in locations like Bangalore, Chennai, Kerala who immediately identified it or with it and from others in Mumbai - in what I thought was a remarkable display of how in spite of language differences really all of India is bound in common threads of culture - and even from someone in London who did not understand what it was all about.
Thanks to technology and this young person in Mumbai, I could finally claim to have participated in an event what over the years I had missed in my own home :)
I also want to mention one more thing and that is the simple act of 'sticking with it' and involvement. What really builds a community. This wasn't any planned twitter coverage and even I refused to be interested in the first few updates. The motivation to click on the link given to last years photos or even to respond to others like Sathya and Aravind was low. (though Sathya is based in Chennai he was really sharing about his mangalore home).
But as the updates were regular even I got caught up in the excitement. This 'excitement' and involvement is what (building) a community is about.
In a final chilling comment on what Mumbai does with its flora and fauna, the irony is best expressed When he says, 'Now for the BIG news- the plant will be chopped down to make way for a car park'- here in this tweet!
Picture of Brahmakamal flower by Preshit Deorukher