My first taste in community was my neighborhood gang in 1970's Tampa, the Sunshine State, another time, another world. We roamed in a desultory pack through long humid afternoons knocking on doors and gathering in number until the fireflies came out and our moms called us in. Our shared interests included digging (here my sister and I work on the shallow beginning of what would become "The Pit"), making up games like School and Lion (better to teach than tame) and that age old activity, hanging out. When I was a kid, the success of my day would depend on who was home, the weather, and the energy of the collected group to have ideas and execute on projects.
For the many years I was an editor, the community of teachers and publishers around an academic field came together at conferences, and they still do! Editors and marketing managers spend weeks contacting existing and potential authors, blocking out every possible time a given day offers to eat and drink and meet. We stand at booths in windowless conference halls--the same in every city, every state—waiting for people to wander by between sessions and browse our offerings. When they do, we hover inconspicuously, on call to answer a question or demo a website. This community is built around real-life, real-time, sometimes accidental, connections between people, pedagogy, books, and media.
In today's hyper-connected world, it's theoretically possible to get information and inspiration when and where you need it, and to connect easily with people who share your interests (provided you're all hooked up at some point to wifi, which, for better or worse, most of us are). But it's also hard to filter out the noise and to cleave through the cognitive dissonance between the belief in Google's search algorithms and a belief in expertise and academic communities. And until today, it hasn't always been easy to digitally connect with the larger Macmillan community—outside of a conference or physical event—with our teachers, scholars, editors, and authors (past, present, and possible).
The Macmillan Community offers all of us a space to connect, and we'll always be home when you feel like hanging out. Granted, it's a pretty quiet space today. We've set up 3 pilot groups, for Bedford Bits , TLC Webinars, and EconED Active, and if you're looking at this post in the halcyon days of summer 2015, you're one of the first people through the door. Welcome! We've set up the site to be open for you to browse and search—but you get many more benefits as a member, including email alerts about opportunities to review new projects and to meet our authors and editors. We're already working on the next round of ideas for building out groups and content, and we would love your feedback.