Add to Flipboard Magazine.
Retreat Reviews: "I thought my dreaming days were over, but since leaving my teaching job, I have started a new career and my husband and I are exploring China for two years!! Dream Positioning works for both of us as we move forward together..." -Shulah S. Retreat Participant "My wife and I attended a retreat run by Dr. Lavi years ago. Things we learned still help us keep things exciting!" -Bill and JoAnn H., previous participant

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Psychologist Howard Gardner on Online Communities

Thought for the Day: This week I am wondering about how social media impacts on our lives & personalities (Motivational Monday: A Twist: Psychologist Needs Your Help, We need To Talk!" & Tuesday's Psychology Trivia Question: Does Facebook Change Personality?). Therefore, Wednesday's Words of Wisdom address these questions as well. Today's quote: “The biggest communities in which young people now reside are online communities,” comes from developmental psychologist, Howard Gardner.  A community is a unified group of individuals that share a common interest, location or characteristics. Gardner was right when he said it, but, his quote already needs to be updated. The demographics of online communities are increasingly populated by people of all ages not just the "young." In a comprehensive analysis by Pingdom in 2012:
  • 55% of Twitter users are 35 or older.
  • 63% of Pinterest users are 35 or older.
  • 65% of Facebook users are 35 or older.
  • 79% of LinkedIn users are 35 or older.
 My version of Garner's quote would be: “The biggest communities we live in today are online communities.”

**Howard Gardner, Contemporary Psychologist
Howard Gardner was born on July 11, 1943. Most notably known for his theory of multiple intelligences, Gardner was Professor of Cognition & Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. His theory of multiple intelligences describes how humans learn & process information in seven independent & different ways as opposed to a singular general IQ factor.

Dr. Gardner's  multiple achievements earned him awards for his contributions to psychology & education. In 1981, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Prize Fellowship. He became the first American to receive the Grawemeyer Award in Education in 1991. He was selected by Foreign Policy & Prospect magazines as one of the top 100 most influential public intellectuals in the world in the years 2005 and 2008. In 2011 he was the recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award in Social Sciences.
*Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Since virtual communities are becoming increasingly important, psychologists & all professionals are studying how to communicate effectively online. It is a vast uncharted territory & we all have a great deal to learn. The largest online communities are sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, & LinkedIn, however blogs, like this one, are not only an alternative interactive newspapers, they are also online communities where one can learn about topics of interest, & share thoughts, theories & observations about their common interests. It is truly a "brave new world" we are all exploring. We can meet & stay in touch with people from across the street or around the world without leaving home

What online communities do you belong to? Do you feel they enhance or complicate your life? What do you like or dislike about living in a world filled with online communities? How do you feel about sharing online? Would you consider skype, e-mail or online therapy sessions?

*Photo from
**Photo from a great article about Garners on Harvard's website:


Smadar said...

You pose some excellent questions about the meaning of belonging to online communities. I belong to all the above communities you mentioned. My sense is that each of us has a favorite community. I find that I've tired of facebook and so have many of my facebook friends. People are just not using it that much. My kids have even gone off facebook. For me, my blogging community has become the most important. I have a family history blog. The genealogy blogging community is really amazing. I've met incredible people who are very supportive both of my blog and my research. I've learned a lot from them and enjoy reaching out. The community is very organized and uses google+, so I would say that google+ though less popular than facebook is huge for the genealogy community. I'm curious to see what your other followers feel.

Barbara Lavi said...

Thanks for your insightful comments. I believe that social networking online will become more & more the way people communicate & build relationships that will grow offline as well. Blogging is like an interactive newspaper which is exciting!