It used to be a word that described the people living on your street or in your town. Have you ever bumped into a random stranger at Timmies or walking down Broadway and started chatting only to find out you have a mutual friend? Community is a necessary aspect of human survival- it is how we were designed. A true example of community is the way that Canadians banded together in support of those affected by the Humboldt Broncos accident. So many lives across the province and the country were affected by the tragedy and watching as the provinces and the hockey communities supported the individuals and families was awe-inspiring. It truly feels as though the entire country banded together. Everywhere around Saskatoon I see billboards, marquis, busses, window drawings and more expressing support for the Humboldt Bronco community.
I couldn’t help but think back to a different tragedy that struck the world almost 20 years ago. 9/11 was a moment that most people will never forget, a lot of people remember exactly where they were or what they were doing when they heard. Most people heard through the television and some heard from other people. I was in school, and I remember all the teachers were nervously trying to keep us students from seeing what was going on while trying to find out for themselves.
The rise of social media has led to a decline in standard media outlets such as newspapers and the evening news. The Social media era stems from our instance necessity – the need to have what we want in a moment’s notice. Even I am guilty of pulling out my phone and googling a question that popped into my head because I cannot bear the thought of not knowing. The way we obtain our information has shifted and so has our ability to react to a situation.
For example, a fundraiser for the families affected by something like the Broncos tragedy would’ve taken weeks to organize, promote, and execute; yet, because of the release of information through social media, as a community we raised around 15 million in two weeks and organized province and nation wide support movements. I had at least 15 people forward me the message to wear green in support of the Broncos only 3.5 days after the accident. These efforts and global support would not have been possible without the use of social media.
When I drive down Saskatoon streets, seeing hockey sticks and jerseys on front porches it proves that Saskatchewan, and Canada, are communities full of love and support, of this I am unfalteringly sure.