Why is this so awesome?• Experiential learning• Real world experience• Contribution to real knowledge (Google Scholar!)• Famous people
Networking with other students• External and internal Curtin students, Open Universities Australia (OUA), Charles Telfair Institute (CTI) in Mauritius• Facebook• Twitter• Blackboard• Conference blog
Moving forward• Start networking!• Begin thinking about your stream for the conference and your paper• Lectures will be replaced with discussion and planning sessions
Key Issues in Internet Communities & SocialNetworks
What is the relationship between the individual andthe group to which she/he belongs?
Virtual & OnlineCommunities• The WELL• MUDs and MOOs• IRC• Usenet• Email listservs• Second Life• Personal homepages
Social Media, SocialNetworks & Web 2.0• Facebook• Twitter• YouTube• Wikipedia• Last.fm• Blogs, wikis
Why participate?• Ridings & Gefen (2004)• Information exchange• Social support• Friendship• Recreation
Brave new world?• Wellman & Guila (1997)• Dystopian versus utopian• Disconnection and loss of community or global village?• Freedom from race, gender, sexual orientation or alienation and escapism?
What is community (virtual or otherwise)?• Katz et al. (2004)• Physical or “real” communities versus online or virtual communities• Loss of idealised or utopian community • Formed from Classical, philosophical (nostalgic!) conceptions • Focus on the individual, death of the public sphere (Habermas, Puntnam)• Along axes of individual/group, local and physical/global and mediated
Theories of community• Traditional community (local, physical, supportive/reciprocal, trust, intimacy, fostering democracy)• Social network (before Facebook! Common deﬁnition used by internet theorists, such as Wellman... networked individualism, community in the private sphere)• Pseudo-community (Traditional community, without requirement for physicality. Eg Rheingold’s virtual community, which transcends boundaries)• Imaginary community (communities rooted in geographical boundaries but with virtual elements... groups connected by race or cultural background but geographically dispersed because of globalisation)
What does CMC do to theories of community?• Rethinking deﬁnitions based on somewhat false dichotomies (real/imagined, ofﬂine/online, physical/virtual) in favour of “mediated communication”• Social capital as yardstick (social contact, civic engagement, sense of community)
Something in between• Not entirely harmful, not entirely beneﬁcial or revolutionary• Continuation of existing processes or trends• Emphasis or exaggeration• Many social, cultural, economic factors... not just technology
Also...• Merging or overlapping of online and ofﬂine spheres• Real (Facebook, a cafe) and virtual (World of Warcraft, Dungeons & Dragons)• Being together!
For example...• Ridings & Gefen (2004)• Virtual community as “groups of people with common interests and practices that communicate regularly and for some duration in an organized way over the Internet through a common location or mechanism”• Fills social gap created by decline of physical communities
Discussion• Why might we idealise the physical world as better or more real?• Is technology the sole driver of both positive and negative change in society?• What is missing from the Wikipedia article on virtual community?• Does the Wellman & Guila article still hold up today (almost 16 years later)?