Monday, March 19, 2012

Community Online

Dear Nancy Baym,
When you mentions individuals who argue that online groups cannot be communities because of a geography reason, I have to disagree with them. Just because an online "community" isn't necessarily present on land does not mean it does not exist. As you mention an online community consists of individuals who discuss topics of shared interest and create new relationships by connecting with one another. Online communities can almost be seen as a culture. A culture is a group of people who share the same ideas and beliefs, and that is exactly what an online community is. Just because it is not in a physical location does not mean it is real. Culture is all around the world as is online communities.
You do an accurate job talking about how individuals practice online communities through social networking and social norms. The "EPIC WINNING LOL" tweet example shows how social media has changed the world and how now individuals can relate to superiors through these communities because they feel connected when they use the same lingo. You also do a good job tying together political, civic, and interpersonal relationships through online communities. Online communities isn't just for "nerds", it is for everyone who has a shared interest. Online communities have expanded enormously to subjects ranging from gaming, to science, to politics, to fashion. As great as online communities are, I agree with you statement that "their combination of interactivity and reach allow people to come together around shared interests, transcending local communities in ways that may be personally empowering but potentially polarizing". Some individuals may feel the need to follow the opinion of their online community because they don't want to be reprimanded for having another opinion. Having the same beliefs is great, but it is important that everyone has their own opinion and isn't afraid to jump off the "bandwagon" and speak up.

Yours Truly,
Taylor Palehonki

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