Scholars have argued for a long time about whether online groups can be considered communities. Of course, there are many different types of online groups, some of whom consider themselves a community and some who do not. Some people attribute Internet-based interaction to breaking up local communites. But as Wellman (1996) points out, for many people in the United States, people’s strongest social ties have not been local for quite some time. He argues that industrial forces have been changing the composition of our social networks over the course of the last hundred years–long before the Internet appeared on the scene.
In conducting online research among video sharing site participants, I’ve noticed that YouTube is vast with people relating positive and negative experiences they have had on the site. But what is particularly interesting to me is that in discussing whether or not YouTube feels like a community to them, the interviews revealed what the individuals defined as the characteristics of community. To me this is an important part of the video. Many different defintions of community are mentioned in this video both in text and images. Can you identify them? Which definitions seem most persuasive to you?
This footage was taken at the SouthTube meeting in Georgia on September 22-23, 2007.
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