The online community, today´s equivalent of former villages?
In the old days, people communicated in their immediate vicinity, that is the village or town they lived in. This changed with the invention of the telephone, the option to talk to people in remote places, which, of course was a provilege of the richer countries.
Communication has undergone a dramatic development in the previous past, with people communicating cheaply, on flat rates, day and night, sending and receiving SMS, MMSs, E-mails etc.
There is constant communication going on, no rest is given, and people have in large parts become “hooked” on being part of a communicative network.
E-mails, i.e. the exchange of texts and photos, were a start, today, playing games with people at the other end of the globe, holding video conferences with anyone, unveiling your secrets to millions of “friends” on networks has become so common that no one is surprised anymore.
What seems to be the fascination of being a member of an online community?
For one it is easy, anyone can basically join in, which is kind of democratic. Being part of an online community also gives a person a sense of belonging, even if it is only by means of a screen.
This development, especially an issue among very young people, has to be viewed critically, though, as it may reduce a person`s ability to communicate with “real” people, react spontaneously to different kinds of people as is definitely required in today`s professional word. A striking number of kids are found to live in parallel worlds where they are heroes. “Identity” is an issue here.
As is often the case with new phenomena or media, they have to be “learned“, and this is a task to fulfill in the future.