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Online Communities. By Jennifer L. Bowie Based on the readings for class. Questions for discussion. What is the difference between a group and a community? Can a true community form online?. What is a online community?.

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Online communities

Online Communities

By Jennifer L. Bowie

Based on the readings for class


Questions for discussion
Questions for discussion

  • What is the difference between a group and a community?

  • Can a true community form online?


What is a online community
What is a online community?

  • Online or virtual communities form "when people carry on public discussions long enough, with sufficient human feeling, to form webs of personal relationships” Rheingold

  • Virtual communities are created around common interests

  • They require:

    • People

    • Purpose

    • Policies

    • Computer systems (Preece)

  • Considered “third places” (conversation-based informal environments that are neither work nor home and are a place of community)

  • They can include (from Preece 13 drawing on ACM):

    • Shared activities and strong emotional ties

    • Shared access to resources and policies concerning the resources

    • Reciprocity of info, services, and support

    • Shared context including language

  • There is a sense of community

  • There are often rituals


Why do people contribute
Why do people contribute?

  • According to Peter Kollock there are three non-altruistic motivations:

    • Anticipated reciprocity: give and get

    • Increased recognition: become recognized

    • Sense of efficacy: can effect the environment

  • Also due to a “sense of community” according to Mark Smith


The community hierarchy
The community hierarchy

According to Amy Jo Kim there are five stages of the community participation hierarchy:

  • Lurker or visitor: just observe

  • Novice: begin participating

  • Regular: have continue participation over a period of time

  • Leader: further sustained participation with recognition

  • Elder: long time leader and often a community pillar or “wise person”


Virtual selves
Virtual selves?

by Peter Steiner page 61 of July 5, 1993 issue of The New Yorker, (Vol.69 (LXIX) no. 20)



Virtual selves1
Virtual selves…

  • Psychical aspects like race, sex, appearance, and even disabilities are not “evident” online

  • People can be whoever they want (within reason generally)

  • This is seen as both positive and negative. Why?


What online communities can you think of
What online communities can you think of?

  • Why/how are they communities?


The end
The End

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