A friend once convinced me that beliefs are less productive to a culture than values. While beliefs may be the proclamation, values are what drive them and without a strong value system, beliefs can quickly become useless words.
Here’s a great example: If the cultural value is “natural resources” then the beliefs, the actions that support the value, would include recycling, conservation and preservation. These actions are congruent. If the belief is that carbon emissions need to be reduced and we do nothing personally to change that, then our actions demonstrate a weak or non-existent value system. The lack of the value system creates inaction, and thus the belief is essentially false.
As the Columbus Social Media Cafe moves towards better defining itself and its goals, it becomes more important to define its collective values than it is to create a mission statement. A mission statement can certainly define the group activities, but a value statement offers the group a way to live and breathe the mission, which will develop naturally as a result.
There appears to be a common value in those that attend this WOSU/COSI sponsored event. The driving value seems to be “strong community”. That value would support the belief that Columbus is a great place to live, work and create. Our individual and collective contribution to our community becomes the action.
While the Columbus Social Media Cafe has yet to fully define itself, it appears as if the values are moving the group forward. We’re planning our next meeting in one of Columbus’ communities in an attempt to bring together individuals who may not otherwise attend. We’re working on a creating a Social Media toolbox which will teach individuals how to interact with new technologies in order to help create stronger communities. Our goal at the next gathering is to have a thirty-minute hands-on workshop for those in attendance.
We know that our readers and participants value strong communities and those of us involved in this project value your continued participation so please consider joining us even if it’s just to listen.
Our next meeting will take place on Tuesday April 29th at the OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) in Dublin, Ohio. Directions and information are available at the Columbus Social Media Cafe online site.
A full recap of our most recent meeting is available at Andrew Miller’s site, Elephants on Bicycles.