Cult3020 Production Project


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This is an assignment I had for a communications course, the topic I chose was virtual communities and the online world. It was a really interesting topic to research and present a report on.

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Cult3020 Production Project

  1. 1. Imagined & Virtual Communities ‘The OFFLINE world vs. the ONLINE’
  2. 2. Words associated with ‘Online’ Communities:
  3. 3. “Community” – has long been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location. However as technology evolves, the way we perceive our communities change, they are no longer reliant of a similar location and can be redefined as:
  4. 4. A network of people who have something in common and interact on a regular basis in a holistic way, offering a sense of belonging and togetherness between differing groups of people.
  5. 5. So at what point in history did our communities evolve from this classic neighbourhood setting to…
  6. 6. ..the ever increasing world of virtual and imagined communities?
  7. 7. At the birth of: COMPUTER MEDIATED COMMUNICATIONS (CMC) The communication process that occurs through the use of two or more networked computers: Examples: Instant Messenger Chat Rooms Emails Social Networking Websites Virtual World Websites
  8. 8. The creation of CMC technology and social networking websites has lead social researchers and academics to ask themselves the question: Can communities form online?
  9. 9. Social researcher Benedict Anderson coined the term ‘Imagined Community’ – “All communities larger than primordial villages of face-to-face contact are imagined” (1983, pp. 18)
  10. 10. But are they really imagined?
  11. 11. This question is determined by what people perceive as the correct definition of community, do people have to have physical face-to-face interaction to be deemed part of a community? Author Howard Rheingold (1994), describes virtual communities as “cultural aggregations that emerge when enough people bump into each other often enough in cyberspaces”.
  12. 12. How is this image of a community really that different to an image of a online community?
  13. 13. Online community members partake in regular social and daily tasks that they would perform in their everyday lives, whilst visiting their online world.
  14. 14. They perform jobs, shop, clean their (virtual) houses, visit friends, go out for coffee, and many other daily activities usually performed during their real lives..
  15. 15. Virtual Community users even go to church ONLINE!
  16. 16. Personal Learning sites such as ‘Delicious’ rank Second Life as the most used Virtual Community on the Internet as it has the highest number of attributed tags. Facebook is ranked as the most commonly used Social Networking Site.
  17. 17. SECOND LIFE •Launched June 30, 2003 •Community of Residents, interact with each other through the use of AVATARS •3D World •Linden dollar (L$) can be used to buy, sell, rent or trade land or goods and services with other users
  18. 18. AVATARS: A key factor in Second Life’s popularity is the use of Avatars “The only limit is your imagination”
  19. 19. - Avatars display patrons personalities in the online world. - They give users an opportunity to create and disguise themselves as anyone or thing that they have ever dreamt of becoming. - Second Life even lets you recreate your identity in the body of any animal existing or nonexistent.
  20. 20. Through the use of avatars Second Life users are able to act out their daily life online and experience both the good and bad sides of social life. “We chat, argue, engage in intellectual intercourse, perform acts of commerce, exchange knowledge, share emotional support, make plans, brainstorm, gossip, feud, fall in love, find friends, lose them, create a little high art and a lot of idle talk” (Rheingold, 1994).
  21. 21. Positive factors for virtual second life communities
  22. 22. Events in Cyberspace can have concrete effects in real life, of both the pleasant and less pleasant varieties.
  23. 23. “Participating in a virtual community has not solved life's problems for me, but served as an AID, a COMFORT, and an INSPIRATION at times.”
  24. 24. I participate in “wide-ranging, intellectually stimulating, professionally rewarding, sometimes painful, and often intensely emotional ongoing interchange with dozens of new friends, hundreds of colleagues, thousands of acquaintances” All whilst sitting, physically isolated in my room.
  25. 25. If all these raw feelings and emotions can be produced whilst sitting alone in an isolated room, and a sense of up most community is met then who is really able to say that virtual communities do not exist? - They exist in the eye of the beholder - If you believe a community can develop outside of physical boundaries then you believe that virtual communities are really and operating over thousands of websites on the internet, involving millions of people from all over the world!
  26. 26. Overall the truth is, that technology is forever changing and wont slow down for anybody..
  27. 27. The word ‘COMMUNITY’ truly means somewhere that individuals feel same and a sense of belonging, the feeling that they are connecting with those around them and can open up to them about the triumphs and loses in their lives.
  28. 28. REFERENCES: Websites: Aviary: MySpace: Delicious: Personal Brain: Facebook: Second Life: Jing: Slideshare: Mindomo: Wordle:
  29. 29. REFERENCES (Continued): Abdul- Rahman, A. & Hailes, S. (2000) Supporting Trust in Virtual Communities, Proceedings of the 33rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2000 Feenberg, A. & Bakardjieva, M. (2004) Virtual Community: No ‘Killer Implication’, New Media & Society, 6, 1, pp. 37-43. Viewed 4 October 2010, Fox, N. & Roberts, C. (1999) GP’s in Cyberspace: the Sociology of a ‘Virtual Community’, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, UK Fox, S. (2004) The New Imagined Community: Identifying and Exploring a Bidirectional Continuum Integrating Virtual and Physical Communities through the Community Embodiment Model (CEM), Journal of Communication Inquiry, 28, 1, pp. 47-62 Norton, B. (2001) Non-Participation, Imagined Communities and the Language Classroom, Chapter 8 in, Learner Contributions to Language Learning, viewed on 3 October 2010 %20Nonparticipation,%20imagined%20communities,%20language%20classroom.pdf Rheingold, H. (1994) A Slice of Life in My Virtual Community, in H. Rheingold (Ed.), Global Networks: Computers and International Communication, pp. 57-80, MIT Press, Cambridge, USA