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OH WON'T YOU BE MY FRIENDSTER?

According to Boyd, “Participants in social network sites want to be public where public means interacting with all people who might have similar tastes or be entertaining or provide useful information.� I think this is a great summary of how online communities differ from physical communities. People participating in an online community are participating due to personal interest in the topic at hand. Where as in a public community, sometimes you don’t have a choice about the interactions you encounter or the situations you will become involved in. However, both community types both encourage encountering with people and engaging in some type of conversation with others, whether it be personal or a topic of interest.

To gain social capital in the online community you have to almost create a desirable image for yourself. For example according to Baym, “The use of humor as a criterion in evaluating performance on r.a.t.s. is directly related to important functional concerns in the group. It helps keep fans entertained during times when a soap opera may fail to do so, and it help to create an accepting and caring group atmosphere.� Overall I think it’s all about how you present yourself and the image you create for yourself via the Internet and these various programs.

I think digital communities have become very popular within the past couple of years. I know that I wasn’t too involved in any type of online communities, prior to hearing about MYSPACE and FACEBOOK. The article written by Boyd about Friends and Friendster was very interesting to read, because I could relate to some of the information within the article. For example, I know that on MYSPACE I have friends that are friends with over 500 people, and over ¾ of the friends they have listed as friends, they have never met or talked in real life before. Overall I believe digital communities are affecting physical communities. Boyd mentions a case about fights in schools because someone wasn’t on someone’s TOP8 on MYSPACE.

Comments

Great discussion contrasting the difference between online communities versus physical communities. Growing up in a small community I understand how at times you do not have a choice of what community to be involved in. Your thrown in together whether similar interests or not. I believe there are benefits to both communities. Online communities give you the option to chose. Great job! AR

I think that the whole "Top 8" thing is really sad because it helps to reinforce hierarchies in friendships and other relationships which parallel the social and political hierarchies that we already face on a daily basis. I think that it's a totally unnecessary feature and should not be used, but that's just my opinion. I agree with you that online communities are affecting real life communities. I think that people who project an image of themselves that is different from their real selves are only really cheating themselves. Instead of knowing how to accept themselves and act like the kind of person that they actually are, they decide to accept someone else's persona or a persona that they wish they had and deceive others.

I really like your comment: "People participating in an online community are participating due to personal interest in the topic at hand. Where as in a public community, sometimes you don’t have a choice about the interactions you encounter or the situations you will become involved in." I had never thought about it this way, but people who dedicate the majority of their time in online communities rarely subject themselves to uncomfortable or ambigious situation, which occur in real life. This really interferes with the development of the individual as a whole. Good point.