I hate the word “community.” It’s a catch-all word that means so many things it feels like it means nothing. When I use it I feel a little silly.
Yet there’s not really a good replacement for the word. Or at least I haven’t found one I like.
Check out a thesaurus — is there anything that can both refer to a geographically-bound collection of individuals while also referring to a group of individuals that are naturally cohesive around a shared affinity?
Society has too many connotations of snootiness or political implications (“The Great Society”). Association is usually attached to the name of a lobbying group. Neighborhood is nice and informal, but it’s too geographically-bound and too small-scale. Nothing else quite matches “community” in terms of flexibility and meaning, right?
If anyone has a better term, please share it in the comments. I really would like to find another word I can use interchangeably with this term.