Community – One Of The Most Overused Words Ever Spoken

Have you ever noticed how often the “community” is mentioned each day? Recently during a 30-minute news telecast, I heard the word mentioned sixteen times. It is a standard word you’ll hear incorporated in any political or civic (I almost used that word!) event or speech.

I suppose many consider it to be a great word that speaks to any group. I hear this word to incorporate almost any logistics. It non-specific and has no specific boundaries lines or origin. I’ve heard community reference business, non-profit, ethnic group or profession, it’s just the amazing word simply fill in a blank before it and you’re good to go.

As a young man, I have no recollection of people using the word “community.” Words like neighborhood, cities or towns seem to be more popular terms back in my early days. I understand it’s relevant to where we live, work or play. Perhaps the word “community” became the trend word to use during the sixties when people moved out to the suburbs and became “commuters.” Now I’m not offended if people used other words to speak to where I live. I guess it’s a warmer phrase than “people of earth” and the word “community” is just a great generic word, easily understood by people as a “catch all.”

Village: The Next Big Word that Wasn’t

Back when the term “it takes a village” burst onto the scene, I was so confident “village” would become the next “it” word. It almost the same as such, a noble word as the idea that it takes a village to survive and succeed in life. The word encompassed so many factors of inclusiveness, it just seems destined to join the ranks of reverence word. Despite the fanfare, it appears the word “village” only reached the plateau of “a one-hit wonder.” Perhaps many associated the word “village” with a primitive connotation.

I’m of the perspective the advancement of technology has impacted the meaning of village, especially for the millennial segment. Apps and YouTube have assumed the roles formerly identified with counselors and advisers. However despite the constant, rapid changes of today’s society, “community” remains the most applicable word used in the English language.

Ketchup vs Salsa

The word “community” just doesn’t seem to have the same levels of demand in Spanish as in English. Allow me to share a couple of examples, I hear references to multiple businesses as the Business Community and in Spanish it would be translated to “nuestra comunidad de comercios o negocios.” As you may have noticed in Spanish we might use two different, yet applicable words for business.

I once attended an event where a speaker was attempting to communicate in Spanish to the neighborhood group. Well, this person shared his company’s concerns for the betterment of the “comunidad Hispana.” So after a couple of attendees asked me if comunidad included the members of their barrio (I won’t get into attempts to translate the word partnership fell upon deaf ears). Again from my background, I can only share how the word “community” is not as fluently used in Spanish as in English; perhaps it does well in French “communauté” or falls under my findings determined as untranslatable words.  Apparently, in English, the word “community” has Giant Sequoia size tree roots as it reigns supreme.

The Challenge

The challenges are to avoid using the word more than once in a presentation or written document – it’s not easy.  For those brave of heart, your quest is to discover with the next “big” word to substitute for community.   It is my belief the quest in seeking the Holy Grail would be a piece of cake comparison to find a replacement for the word community.


Al "Skip" Solorzano
Al "Skip" Solorzano
SKIP is a recognized expert in the field of diversity with keen ability to build strategic alliances, and successfully expand supplier diversity initiatives. He has consulted with multiple client sectors including pharmaceutical, insurance, manufacturing, health care, telecommunications, utilities nonprofit organizations, business entities and employee groups. As a facilitator and learning consultant presents unique perspectives to develop solutions; and promote qualities to successfully work with others through diversity, team-building and leadership development. Solorzano has been featured as a presenter at conferences sponsored by such entities as: AT&T, The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Social Security Administration. A former Governor appointee and member of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials; Solorzano has been recognized by United Way as Most Influential Hispanics of the Bay Area; and a recipient of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Corporate Advocate of the Year award. Skip’s career endeavors as a corporate liaison, community leader and entrepreneur, provides the unique insight to write on an array of subject matter from learning processes; diversity; with a shared humorous perspective of life.

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