Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Connected Communities week 3

Social dynamics of online communities and their effect on offline communities is the very snappy title for our group project. I think that we need to come up with one that rolls of the tongue a bit better while encapsulating what we propose to do within this project. It is interesting putting a project plan together when the possibility of you actually undertaking the project is slim. I think that it has the possibility to hinder the creative process and imaginings of what is actually possible. For me however I think it is rather freeing and opens up the possibilities for all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas. I feel that this sort of 'free thinking' helps facilitate different sorts of thinking and can substantiate alternative ideas. What do people actually want out of a community? Are they happy with the types of social interaction that they participate on a daily basis? What could be gained from further study in this field? I guess just what is the actual point in it all? In this world of virtual communication it is becoming ever more difficult to communicate with people on a face to face basis. I have found this the case, while I can put down in an email or text what I am thinking, feeling, views on certain subjects professional and personal the balance to be able to verbalise and communicate this is becoming ever more difficult. Why would you meet up with someone to discuss a certain topic when you can send an email, which would probably get your point across faster and in a more understandable way(in some case) not to mention save on your carbon footprint (you can communicate with people all over the world from the comfort of your own home) but what effect will this sort of 'distance' communication have on people psychologically. People are social creatures, loneliness and depression can become a major problem when we become isolated from physical contact or interactions. However online communities cold offer comfort to people separated by vast distances, when actual physical contact is not possible. There are issues however of children getting upset because they do not understand technologies such as skype who seem to offer the solution to bridge the gap giving people separated by distance an actual face to talk to. The emotions and mannerisms of your nearest and dearest can be seen so you do not in theory feel as disconnected. In some instances this becomes more distressing for users, especially the young as they cannot understand why they can see but not touch, like a cruel trick being played, it can make the separation more painful.
What then is the answer...?

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