In today’s lesson Maria taught us about 2 different types of communities – territorially bound and virtual. Territorial communities are defined by physical location like the communities in the area you live in, and where people bond together. Virtual communities are ‘not tied directly to physical reality (Von Dijk, 1999: 250) so are based online, on the internet.
Maria also taught us about the very first virtual community that was established in 1990 called ‘The Well’. Within this community strangers would occasionally meet and share their interests, and then do the same online. ‘The interest can radically transform social interaction’ (Rheingold, 1994) – when ‘The Well’ got started it gave the opportunity for people to be free from the physical world with inherited identities without having to reveal their face or real name online, and where people were free to participate, communicate and discuss interests and politics. The type of text virtual communities are based on facilitated interaction but people also text about fandom, sexting, grass-root political action etc.
Maria also compared this to the online community that we have today and we also discussed this in the seminar after the lecture. Compared to the online community back in the 1990’s, the online community now don’t meet with each other – they are more likely to follow common interest on social media and consider that a community. However, to me being in a community is meeting with people in reality and enjoying their company, playing, talking about common interests which is more satisfying than ‘liking’ and commenting on social media.