You Cannot Buy a Community

In an era of instant gratification and the commodification of every aspect of life, community stands as one of the last bastions of human connection that is not — or at least should not be — for sale. Our world is often painted with political and social brushstrokes, seen through the lens of economics. Yet, when it comes to true human connection, the exchange of currency matters little. In this opinion piece, we’re leaving politics at the door and instead focusing on the intrinsic value of communities and the priceless nature of belonging in something truly organic.

Politics are Not Welcome

First and foremost, it’s crucial to separate true community from political or market ideologies. Community is about shared experiences, values, and camaraderie. It’s the unseen ties that bind us, not the fiscal transactions that set us apart. When we politicize or monetize community-building, we risk alienation and transactional interactions that dismantle the very essence of what makes communities thrive.

Community is Not a Marketplace

Communities are not places to push products or agendas. They are spaces for personal growth, shared knowledge, and the strengthening of bonds between individuals. Attempting to purchase community acceptance or place a price tag on interaction devalues the human elements at play. True community is about the quality and depth of those interactions, not their economic value.

Trust is Conquered by Actions

Building genuine connections within a community is an exercise in trust and reciprocity. It cannot be fast-tracked with financial incentives or bought through brand endorsements. Trust is built upon the actions and consistent engagement of members who show up, contribute, and support one another. It’s a solidarity that money cannot buy and one that must be earned through shared experiences and mutual respect.

Human Singularities, Bringing Value and Diversity to Any Community

In any thriving community, you’ll find a tapestry of interests, backgrounds, and personalities. It is this rich diversity that gives a community its vibrancy and resilience. No amount of money can replicate the value that each individual brings to a community through their unique perspective and contributions. For a community to be authentic, it must recognize and celebrate the intrinsic worth of its members.

Personal Anecdotes

Reflecting on my experience navigating various communities, corporate cultures, and social circles, it’s clear that my most fulfilling relationships and experiences have not stemmed from financial transactions. They’ve grown from a place of mutual interest and genuine connection. I’ve seen firsthand how individuals from disparate backgrounds can come together under a common passion and create something truly remarkable. It’s not about clapping or encouraging others to talk; it’s about getting folks connected and feeling useful, helpful, and learning together.

Serving as both a community manager and a developer advocate, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing and facilitating the creation of spaces where true community can blossom. It’s taught me that being a community manager is akin to being a hub for help — continually adapting and learning from the sparse words people might share. The excitement of newcomers invigorates a community, and those who stay do so because they’ve learned the give-and-take that makes community thriving.

My hope is that as we move forward in a world increasingly permeated by digital screens and transactional relationships, we’ll remember that true community cannot be bought. Support, recommendations, and learning are not products that can be purchased; they’re the natural byproducts of genuine human connection.

The most pivotal moments in my own career came from jumping headfirst into communities to lend a helping hand. I’ve received more recognition and opportunities for growth through my efforts within my communities than I could have garnered by toiling away in isolation. The joy of helping others, the solidarity of shared learning, and the vibrant diversity that comes from a multitude of voices united under a common cause — these are the currencies of genuine community.

It’s time to reaffirm the value of unquantifiables in our lives. Community is not for sale, but for the taking. It’s something we must actively seek, foster, and invest in — not with money, but with time, effort, and sincerity. You cannot buy a community, but you can devote your time to participate in creating one or serve your community. It’s in these authentic, organic spaces that we find the true essence of human connection and belonging.

Share → Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Hello there, my name is Jônatas Davi Paganini and this is my personal blog.
I'm developer advocate at Timescale and I also have a few open source projects on github.

Check my talks or connect with me via linkedin / twitter / github / instagram / facebook / strava / meetup.