Burners gather to spend a week or long weekend together living as freely as possible. Participation in theme camps, event infrastructure, and other shared activities forms strong social bonds that Burners are loath to relinquish when they return to the default world.
Communal Effort takes the connections made at a transient event and turns them into a full-time community. Burning Man itself maintains a network of regional contacts, and enclaves of anywhere from dozens to thousands of Burners have formed in almost every part of the world. In addition to regional events, parties, gatherings, and other social occasions are commonplace. Burners create businesses partnerships, relationships, and communal households together. Connections are maintained at a distance through use of Internet forums like EPlaya, and Burner groups are found on almost every social site from FetLife to LinkedIn. Some Burners have recently co-opted a phrase from the queer community: We Are Everywhere!
The gift economy itself contributes to community building because finding anything you need is a matter of knowing who and how to ask; the most involved Burners tend to become experts at social networking. Those who have accumulated enough whuffie through participation can call on their community for assistance with anything from finding housing to lifesaving supplies or funds in the aftermath of a personal disaster.
From Kit O’Connell’s amazing Burner Lexicon! http://kitoconnell.com/