Online Communities

Technology and connecting people background illustration.This week in class we talked about joining an online group or community. These online communities or groups are where people who have questions can go to find answers from others or where they would like to find people with the same interests. The great thing about these online communities is that they can offer support or advice for those in need. I’ve never really thought about joining an online forum or community, so I’m a little anxious and excited about it.

As I was reading about the Wells online community I learned a few things that I didn’t know about. Like, that people who talk online actually meet in real life, which are called “fleshmeets.” To me that is an amazing thing, these people have connected on such a level and trust each other so much that they are willing to meet up in real life over coffee or lunch. What amazed me even more is that some of these people even went as far as to go to funerals, weddings, and even babysit for other people they have met online. To me, it is amazing the amount of trust someone can have in someone they met online.

In another article I read they say that “The biggest difference between social networks and online communities is that communities form out of groups of people from all different backgrounds and histories.” Which is so true, when you’re online you have no idea who you might be talking to, which I find insane. You could be talking to some old lady from Nebraska, or your neighbor down the street and never even know it.

“There are two things that compel online community members to stick around:

  1. The urge to contribute to the community
  2. The perception of benefitting from the community”

To me, that is a strong statement that people are willing to stay in an online community not only because it benefits them but also because they want to help make the online community better as well.

I’m not the type to seek out help from others online or even on my Facebook. I usually am the type to look up the information online and if I can’t find the answers I’m looking for I give up. I’m also the type that will not seek out support or help from others online. I usually tend to keep to myself or talk to people I actually know and see regularly. So, once again, I am finding myself being pushed out of my comfort zone and into situations I normally wouldn’t put myself in. I’m very interested in seeing how this assignment will go.

Photo Credit: Insightrix Communities

When the K-9 Unit and the Disabled Meet

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In Terre Haute, there are a handful of places where adults with disabilities can go during the day while their parents, guardians, or caregivers are busy. Most people who live in the area have no idea the amount of places that are available or that there even are places like that. I am very aware of these places since my older sister has been going to these day programs ever since she graduated high school. I have recently been volunteering there, so during one of their events I decided to do my live tweeting. The day program she is going to now is called Developmental Services, Inc., or DSI for short.

My mother has also recently been doing her internship there and has been setting up events for the clients to have. These events can be set up by any of the workers or interns; these events can also consist of different things. For example, on Valentine’s Day they had a party, which included cake, punch, food trays, decorations, a DJ showed up, dancing, and some of the clients even dressed up. During my live tweet event, my mother had invited the Terre Haute Police Department’s K-9 Unit to come and talk to the clients. The clients were informed about what the K-9 Unit specializes in, the clients asked questions, and even got the opportunity to pet the dog.

During the event, I found it hard to interact with people and the dog while being on my phone.  The clients are always active and wanting to interact with the workers or guests, so it was difficult for me at some points to interact and tweet at the same time. It was also a little difficult for me to listen to what the officer was saying while trying to tweet about what was going on. I did find it a little fun to be writing about what was going on as it was happening. It was like what Christopher Long said in “The Art of Live-Tweeting, that since it is public, I felt like I had an audience while at this event. It definitely added something new for me, since I’m not used to writing about an event until after it had happened.

I think that tweeting during an event could be beneficial to people who might have wanted to go to the event but was unable to. It would allow those people to feel like they were there or know what happened at the event. Especially during events like sporting events, lectures, business meetings, or even during awards shows. It would keep people up to date on what was happening during that event. I’m not sure events like stand up shows, plays, or musicals would be an ideal event to tweet about since people wouldn’t be able to tweet about everything that was said or done.

During this process, I had a feeling that practically no one would be tweeting about the same event or something like it. Which ended up being true, but I did learn that there are a lot more things out there talking about DSI and different K-9 Units. I also learned while I was tweeting that if there is a spelling error or I wanted to change or add something to my tweet I couldn’t I would have to delete it and start over.

Photo Credit: DSI

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Will the Sound Spread?

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This week in class we talked about how easily it is for things to spread these days on social media. Our reading this week says, “Spreadability refers to the potential – both technical and cultural – for audiences to share content for their own purposes, sometimes with the permission of rights holders, sometimes against their wishes.”

Today we see that a lot on social media sites. For example, one of the major things that is happening on Facebook right now is the talk about this girl who was on an episode of Dr. Phil. There was a few things that she had said while on Dr. Phil’s show that spread like wildfire and eventually went viral. She became media famous, there were songs made from what she said on Facebook, there were a lot of memes made of her, and now it seems she’s making money from being so famous by being involved in a cameras commercial. We, as a society, made her famous. She would have just been another person on Dr. Phil’s show had no one thought what she said was so funny and shared it on Facebook.

Sometimes in our society, it takes a little while for things to spread. I know for me personally, I’ve shared something that I thought others would like and no one seemed to care. But then days, or sometimes weeks later, that same post is starting to spread and then a few more days later that post has gone completely viral. Everyone is asking their friends if they have seen this video or picture or post and is sharing it not only online but in person with others.

One thing that has really stuck with me is how a song can be spread so easily. Back in 1966, the duo, Simon & Garfunkel released a song called “The Sound of Silence.” When it was released it was quite popular but it grew in popularity again about a year ago. Around this time last year, Disturbed, a heavy metal band, made a cover of this song and released it on their album “Immortalized.” It sort of grew in popularity, for me, I fell in love with the song as soon as I heard it. I didn’t notice how many people loved the song until a few months after it had been released that people were posting about how they were listening to it and how much they loved it. Then recently, Disturbed was on the late night show Conan and sang this song. That video on Facebook has been viewed over two million times. It just goes to show that some things may become instantly popular while other things take time to become popular.

Photo credit: Death and Taxes