29 August 2009

MX: community model in an online form

In general, once you move a community to an online space, it encases the same ideologies as in real life, but the means communicating are a different process. In real life, membership boundaries can be set by things people wear, but online, you aren't able to see what these people are wearing so you have to find other ways to ways to set the boundary. (the group might be 'invitation only' or you can apply to a group).

1. Integration and fulfillment of needs– fulfillment of needs is enhanced by being online since there are more people able to interact. In real life, you don't get as big as numbers helping your cause, but online you're able to reach more people in more places because the internet allows for wider exposure. when one person comes into the community to meet goals and needs, those people have those same concerns, they can work together to achieve their goals. They are depending on each other for help to succeed. If one sees others are participating, they will want to participate as well. When many people with a similar issue come together to find a solution, the reward is now shared with the group.

2. Membership– in the online community, it's all a lot more open which is possibly why there aren't many boundaries. There isn't much personal privacy which then limits personal connection/relationship

• boundaries ( invitation only, blocking people, referrals, applications)

• emotional safety (own blog posts, how people respond, attitude towards participation, privacy controls, banning, sharing one's own ideas

• sense of belonging and identification ( if people show interest in what you're doing, identification/profile page, number of friends, invitation to certain events

• personal investment (this is what online is all about. If you don't participate, it's as if you don't exist–blogging, commenting, rating, posting images/ video, customizing main profile page etc.)

• common symbol system (the look of the website is a symbol system–its logo, colors, typefaces, topics)

3. Influence– based on what the website is used for, that's the groups influence on the individual. The more you participate in a positive way, the more participation you'll receive from others in the group. Influence is inherent–the fact they are on the same website means there are shared values, needs and purposes, so users already know what others want/need. Influence comes when people make the effort to participate and be known.

4. Shared emotion connection– things are constantly being updated and changed online, so there isn't much reflection of a community history. Instead of having an experience with someone in the community, you're just sharing experiences you've accomplished offline. There is no 'real' contact online, so the quality of interaction is hindered by a screen.

More to come later... community model and demographic research!

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