Ming the Mechanic:
Virtual Communities are Real

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Virtual Communities are Real2004-04-23 11:29
11 comments
by Flemming Funch

Adina Levin:
Just took an online survey for this conference on Virtual Communities. What struck me was the assumption that virtual communities are supplementary to non-virtual communities.

Perhaps this is the old bbs/usenet model, where people gather online to explore new identities; the 20th century equivalent of leaving the small town for New York or Chicago.

But my experience these days is different.

I work with a team that's spread around the US, working with customers spread around the world. We meet a few times a year. EFF-Austin people communicate daily by email, and interact in person a few times a month. I belong to a book club that meets monthly, and plans using email and wiki.

There is no such thing as a "virtual community." There are only real communities that meet more or less frequently in person.
Right on. There's really no such thing as virtual in that regard. There are communities that are more or less tightly bound together, and more or less distributed. Some "virtual" communities are more real than many "real", local communities. And just because people are next to each other every day, it doesn't necessarily form a "community". It is most often bogus to call a city a "community", as most of them aren't. Just a political sleight-of-hand from people who pretend to speak for the community, even when they don't.

But, of course, communities tend to grow stronger if one actually can see and touch each other once in a while. More dimensions to the relations make them stronger.


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