[Air-l] Re: Commerce vs. Community

Wendy Robinson wgrobin at duke.edu
Fri Dec 21 09:46:34 PST 2001

As an academic and as someone who worked for a dot-com specializing in 
online community, media and ecommerce, who was deep into the "community" of 
those of who tried to bring online communities based on geographic 
communities and affinities into actuality, I too have been quite interested 
in the company vs. community thread.

But I honestly don't recognize much of what I found out about the 
commercializing of community in the discussion.  The people who worked for 
dot-coms weren't necessarily clueless and greedy, and damned as well for 
not helping all get rich quick.  Many of us believed in what we were doing; 
we were far less cynical than the media that continues to beat up on the 
dead horse.  Surely a more nuanced account of what happened could be 
offered by Net researchers.

I strongly suggest that for those who are genuinely interested in how those 
in the real-world tried to find ways to "capitalize" on and, not so simply, 
to foster, to make happen, to bring into being, to help extend RL 
communities into cyberspace that you look into the Online Community Report, 
subscription info below.  It still is not all about stock valuations and 

>ONLINE COMMUNITY REPORT is a free twice-monthly publication edited by Dan 
>Shafer dan at OnlineCommunityReport.com and Jim Cashel 
>cashel at OnlineCommunityReport.com, with assistance from the staff of Forum 
>One Communications Corporation. If you would like to be included in or 
>excluded from this mailing list, please visit 
>http://www.OnlineCommunityReport.com . Comments and information are 
>welcome. The Report is also available online at 

And BTW, Rheingold too tried more than once to offer a commercial online 
community.  He's been rather bitter over the last few years, I heard before 
the crash happened, when he was doing the Kinkos commercials, that others 
were profiting from his work.  But Jaron Lanier isn't happy about VR 
research that doesn't involve him.  The mouse got commercialized by others 
than Douglas Engelbart.

But that's IT and how things get adopted and who finds ways to form 
companies, get financing and get out products and ideas, such as "virtual 
community," to a wider audience.  This stuff we love and research, it isn't 
free.  A more rounded consideration of the money trail is muchly appreciated.

Happy Communal Holidays!

Wendy Robinson
wgrobin at duke.edu

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