LM111 Week 6

Blog entry 4 on 13/3/18 LM111

In this weeks lecture Maria discussed with us the difference between community and virtual community. Community is in reality, but virtual means ‘not tied directly to physical reality’ (Van Dijk, 1999, p. 250). In class we watched a YouTube video of Scholar Howard Rheingold (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icvJrjWCz_o) explaining the first virtual community ever created (supposedly) online in the 1980’s. The community was called ‘the WELL’ –  a space online where middle class, privileged, technology literate people could talk about information, daily life and schedule meet ups. “In reality The Well attracted a certain group of people: baby boomers… smart and left leaning without being self-conscientiously PC, mostly male, many with postgraduate degrees” (Hafner, 2007, Wired). According to Rheingold, “the internet can radically transform social interactions, culture and politics” (Rheingold, 1994). This is a statement I concur with – I do believe despite the Internets faults e.g causes isolation (allegedly), cyber-bullying etc; it can be used to express the views and stories of some people who without wouldn’t of been heard at all. This, can change culture and politics hopefully for the better – nevertheless, change it.

In the seminar the whole class spent the whole time debating about what does constitute a virtual community for them? One classmate said “Just because I follow every French Bulldog on Instagram, comment and like every image, doesn’t mean I’m in it’s community, because it doesn’t write back”. Which I don’t agree with, I don’t believe the community is with the French Bulldog’s itself, but with the rest of their followers.




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