[Air-L] [Fwd: Re: The slow decay of mySpace?]

Rhiannon Bury buryrc at rogers.com
Thu Aug 23 10:53:33 PDT 2007

I respectfully beg to differ on this distinction made between online  an 
offline community formation. Just because someone is a physical 
neighbour in no way guarantees that one is a member of that 
neighbourhood community. I myself have lived in neighbourhoods where I 
was a very active community member in a political context. I have lived 
in others where I didn't even know the names of my neighbours.  
Similarly in cyberspace, creating a mailing list, bulletin board or 
Facebok grouping is not synonymous with creating a community.  To 
paraphrase David Buckingham writing about media audiences, being a 
community member is not something you  are but something you do. This 
suggests a discursive understanding of community. I see both online and 
offline communities as being defined and produced by the practices of 
those who participate in them.  Of course I recognize that the lack of 
physical presence has effects, both positive and negative. The issue of 
"lurking" for example, and even the negative connotation of that term, 
suggests that one must actively participate to be viewed as a legitimate 
community member (I think this was discussed on this list some time back).

Very interesting discussion, folks!  I don't want to give the impression 
of jumping in and then "disappearing" but I'm off on vacation tomorrow 
and don't be accessing this account for 10 days or so.



Alecea Standlee wrote:

>Another issue that we might consider, is how we define
>membership. When we talk about online communitites
>maybe  we need to address how someone is or is not
>defined as a community member. After all in an offline
>community, often geographic occupation is the primary
>indicator if someone is a neighbor or community
>member. Online the definitions of community are more
>complex. The degree of interaction and active
>participation in community life online functions very
>differently. Before we can really examine the FB vs MS
>debate, we have to set some perameters and define some
>core idea.

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