Wednesday, November 10, 2010

virtual communities

I have been thinking a lot about the pros and cons of virtual communities. I am coming at my research proposal from a perspective where I believe that the replacement of offline communications with online communications has a negative impact on the ways we construct our identities and the way we maintain relationships. That being said, after reading Bakadjieva & Feenberg's case study, I realized how complex the issue really is. Seeing virtual communities as having a democratizing effect makes it difficult to criticize them. The user can encounter others (the communities) in their own terms. I know that there are many positive aspects to online communities. I just feel that replacing offline communication with online, or just using it as a primary means of communication through tools such as facebook gives the illusion that friendships are being maintained. There seems to be a level of superficiality that people must accept and willingly participate in, in order to be relevant.

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