The online world is a very complicated and interlaced way of communication. It is not very easy to define the online communities or even to discriminate between them. Despit the overlapping, I will try to narrow down my perspective. My first attempt, in the interactional web world, was creating a private e-mail address. I believe this method of interacting is so basic and standard communication tool. Nowadays, many people check their e-mail accounts regularly just like checking their mail boxes.
First, as I experienced the web, I noticed the vast use of social networking and dating websites, such as Yahoo chat rooms, match.com, loveaccess.com, Facebook, and MySpace. Those websites enable people to communicate and share thoughts, point of views, and some limited political views by using synchronous communication (not in Facebook). Many social website not only provide text-based in real-time chat system, but also provide visual representation and audio conversation as well.
Second, I noticed the online Health communities, such as doctissimo.fr (the French health website); people share their problems with professionals and get proper treatment. Those websites can also provide mental (psychological) care as the physical care. In addition, some specialized health websites can also cover pets’ issues; you can examine your pet behavior and get pieces of advice from professionals.
Another interaction tool is the MUD (Multi-User Domains), it enables users to play with a group of people in real time and to send text messages as well in the designated rooms, such as koutbo6.com and Balot.net; those provide some traditional (Arabic) and international card games.
Off-line communities are time-consuming but in many cases are more effective, meaning if you want to socialize with different people from different cultures, you have to dress up and go somewhere to fulfill this need, whether online you don’t have to go anywhere physically. This easiness and time-saving apply to all types of online communities and services as they lack the face-to-face effectiveness.
Many characteristics would affect the growth and the efficiency of online communities. The invisibility plays a very crucial role in online interactions. Whether in personal attempts to communicate with other people or in professional implementations, being invisible is very important for many people. People in general will not be judged based on their appearances, color, or gender especially in professional environments. They will objectively be judged based on their intellectual capacity. Some people prefer to work with hidden identities and the web can offer them that_ one lady speaker came to Hanson’s class and she didn’t reveal her real identity although she has a very well recognized weblog, saying that once they are big enough in the domain then they will unveil their identities to the public. In general, people can always reveal less/much information as they wish in online communities. On social level, some people fear rejection from the other party because of their appearances, color, or low financial status. Another effective characteristic is rapidness. People usually try to save as much time as they can; this is what online communities can provide them.
- What do you think our web world lacks in terms of interaction? Do we need more to reach the ultimate level of interactivity? Or not, and why?
- Does the ultimate level of online interactivity provide the ultimate effectiveness that off-line interactions provide? Explain why or why not?
- Nowadays, we consider some mediated interactions like using cell-phones and others are part of our off-line interactions. Do you think we will experience an overlap between the online different communities and tools and off-line ones in the future? Explain why?