Somewhere between the need to belong and the constraints of conformity lies that Utopian state. I am beginning to realise that this is applicable across all modes of social interaction, whether they be real or virtual.

It begins with people finding a common interest or ‘wavelength’ and sharing great vibes. School/college cliques, blogs and microblogs, workplaces, interest groups and so on.  Startups are fun places to work in the initial years because rules are made on the go, blogs and microblogs in their early days were sparsely populated and everyone was discovering their own voice and community norms.

I have always wondered what breaks the utopian state – time or an increase in the group size. These days I am beginning to be convinced that it is the latter. As each new member is added to the initial set, the needle begins to slowly shift from the erstwhile average. The addition of new members also changes the dynamics of the group and slowly the earlier common sense of belonging changes even as a new one is created. Some adapt, others refuse to conform and break away.

But what I have also realised recently is that there is a middle path – refusing to conform but refusing to go away either. It is a tightrope walk, and best done without baggage. And that’s the walk I am trying to learn, across my worlds.

until next time, walking schtick