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Online Communities Sorta Fake Real Fake

Online Communities Sorta Fake Real Fake

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Online Communities - Sorta Fake or Real Fake?

A recent article on PCMAG Online wrote what I thought was a pretty negative or at least harsh view of "online communities".

Though there are a lot of social networks, newsgroups, forums, and club-like Web sites on the Internet and Web, these entities are not true communities, although many purport to be. Worse, they are often peopled with phonies and posers who see the whole thing as an elaborate video game.

At best, what you have are loose associations that are tenuous, fickle, and probably self-destructive.

The article goes on to say

First, you can take a look at some successful initiatives and see what makes them work. In this situation, you want to find a mechanism that is aging well. Thus I must exclude recent phenomena such as Digg, You Tube, Stickam, and perhaps even Facebook as too new to be fully understandable.

Let's instead look at five distinctly different quasi-community sites and what has made them succeed over the long term. I'll try to pick very different concepts. The five successes worth deconstructing are Meta Filter, Slashdot, Linked In, Flickr, and AV forums

I find it interesting that they didn't list "Online Communities" such as My Space or Tribe. While Face Book may be a success, it has destroyed and or severely damaged careers and educational goals for many college students. The same is true for My Space. High School kids have been suspended based on their own words and photographs. People need to learn that the "Online Community" can not be kept completely private and everyone can find access to it; so beware.

I would argue that there is such a thing as an Online Community based purely on Google searches for a definition. Wikipedia's definition is the same as commonwealth; people with common interests living in a particular area. A large majority of computer users live online or at least live for it. The first thing I do in the morning (M-F) is check my email and my oh gawd I hate to admit this...check my My Space & Tribe In Box.

Everyone knows that Online Communities are to be taken lightly and that people behind the screen name are potentially fake. However, there are people behind the screen name and relationships are built (friendships, business, love). If relationships are built and people connect through a common interest, it is a community. Regardless of the negative shadows.
Consider the benefits of an online community, by connecting people to a community, each person can learn through the experience of others. A wide variety of topics are available for discussion where as before topics were either rarely discussed if at all. The anonymousness allows people to feel safe in asking questions.

The business world is constantly changing and new 'rules' are often change as quickly as European fashions shows. Online communities bring together people from across the country as well as international to inform, educate and question these rules. Additionally, the ethnic background, gender, age and physical ability of people online is much less obvious (if at all) and people's contributions are valued much more on their own merit instead of their physical attributes.

they are self-selecting and not necessarily democratic, with the possible exception of AV Forums, which is driven by technical information, and where destructive forces have no effect because the community is information-driven.

Again, I would disagree. Just because the information is not what one person would deem informative, does not man that I or nor anther may not consider the information valuable. One man's trash is anther man's treasure... Or art project.

The author argues that by creating a quasi-community that requires a paid membership it will decrease the chances that fakes will emerge and the community will be that much closer to being an actual community. Now unless banks and credit card companies are conducting in person interviews, I don't remember ever reading that only intellectuals and or 'real' self aware / self realized people may obtain a credit or bank debit card.

In addition to the personal benefits of online communities, small businesses and corporations have gained useful information from these same types of communities.

  • Online communities provides an ongoing context for product / service knowledge that can be far more effective than in person and mailed (email or USPS mailed) memoranda.
  • Online communities groups can be inspired and assist companies with new product / service ideas and go beyond problem-solving.
  • Online communities attract and can retain customers as well as lure back spurred discouraged customers.

However, I'm moving away from my original thoughts when I first read the article. Of course the internet communities are half believable... That's some of the fun. I love reading the neat names that creative users make up from their own imagination of likes and interests. The internet is a tool for unlimited .possibilities and that includes imagination. That also attracts the negative elements as with anything else.

Online communities is a community. It's not the community you live in or the business community you work in but it is a community, even if it is a quasi-community at best and a fantasy at worst... or is that just anther best?

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