Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Virtual community

A theme that has been running though the course all semester, and, for that matter, throughout my years in grad school, is what do we mean by "community?" I'm not so sure we'll ever get a definitive answer, but the readings this week assert that some sort of interpersonal interaction is needed to establish a virtual community. Therefore, is a real-time chat feature essential to create a virtual community, or would discussion boards be sufficient? What other online technologies would be essential for a virtual community?


Amanda said...

I should really learn to read the blog before I post my questions - mine is along very similar lines.

I think discussion boards and real-time chats are both important parts of a virtual community development. I also think e-mail was an essential development. Interpersonal communication is essential, I agree; but nearly as essential is the inclusion of several options for this communication.

Linda said...

Last semester I took a class that started out strictly online blogging. Then about halfway through the prof. decided we needed to actually meet each other and we had several class sessions where we got to look and interact. The blog discussion changed dramatically after these face-to-face sessions - it went from stiff and careful to much more freewheeling and intimate. It taught me to think that biological humans need biological interactions to form real communities. Being able to "read" the faces of these people brought my trust level way up, which is a point Ellis makes in his article. Before I met my fellow classmates I felt much more cautious about what I was willing to share. It's said that communication is largely a visual read of another, which is hard to do on the web.