Computer-Mediated Communication

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					Computer-Mediated
Communication
    Online Communities




Coye Cheshire & Andrew Fiore   // December 13, 2011
Virtual communities are social
aggregations that emerge from the
Net when enough people carry on
those public discussions long
enough, with sufficient human
feeling, to form webs of personal
relationships in cyberspace.
                     Howard Rheingold, The Virtual Community



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What is an online community?
Social Spaces

                                                 Role-playing

         Professional Groups

                                       Work-related
   discussion groups


         Medical and Illness support groups


                            Geographically related groups

Tech/Software Support




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Role of the Participant
Publisher, reader, content creator,
 commentator, advertiser, editor…


Who makes sense of all of this?
  Researcher (sociology, anthropology, economics, etc)


  Developer (CS, engineering, etc)


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Changing our lives?
                                  Rheingold (1995)


Political change                                             Macro
  (aggregate social level)

Person-to-person interaction
  (interpersonal interaction level)

Perception, thoughts, personalities
  (individual level)                                          Micro


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Web 2.37 is here NOW



                                          Vs.




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Early Online Communities

Rheingold– Virtual Community (1993)

               (Whole Earth ‗lectronic Link)

     At this time, geography still played an important role
      because of BBS‘s (local telephone access)
     Less use of pseudonyms (identity persistence)
     Less initial distrust




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Usenet
The first large-scale online communities were Usenet
  discussion groups and forums

- Developed around 1979
- No official structure


Red Letter Dates!
http://www.google.com/googlegroups/archive_announce_20.html

Explore the history of all messages on Usenet…
http://netscan.research.microsoft.com/

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http://www.ischool.berkeley.edu/~atf/images/treemap_all.gif




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Qualities of Virtual Communities
Jones (1997) Four Qualities that characterize virtual
  communities:

  A minimum level of interactivity
  A variety of communicators
  Common public space
  A minimum level of sustained membership



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Another view
(Chromatic, from O‘reilly Network)
http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/network/2002/10/21/community.html


Exist for a reason
  Users draw other users
      Users will surprise you
             A sense of ownership
                   A shared history and culture
              Role of Mischief
       Barriers are mixed blessings
  Discuss the Community Openly

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Online communities are
neither built nor do they just
emerge, they evolve
organically and change over
time. Developers cannot
control online community
development but they can
influence it.
      Jenny Preece




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       Selected Social Issues in
       Online Communities




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Facebook Information Fiasco
 ―A lot of people, it's true, are getting hysterical because they feel their privacy
 was violated. It wasn't. They just think it was, because they don't realize that
 the news feed is just a condensed version of what they're already putting out
 there on the internet in the first place. Anyone that nnated (sic) to know that
 information could get it, and while this does make it easier, it's no more
 obvious.‖ (―Tom‖, online comment)

 ―The point is, you're always presenting the identity you want to present - you
 never have to worry about the identity you used to present … This morning,
 millions of students were shown that they can't actually rewrite history.
 Everything they do, all of the groups they join and interests they state or
 friends they make - it is all being recorded.”

       (Fred Stutzman)
       http://chimprawk.blogspot.com/2006/09/facebook-generations-identity-
 archive.html




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