long time passing

neo-community

i’ve been involved in community all my life, we all have to some extent. i’ve particularly been involved in online community since being a part of developing and running of the common ground bulletin board in 1992. during that time i’ve seen a group of disparate people find new ways of connecting and communicating, with others, seen the community grow and flourish, and then dissipate – I hope not back to where they came from (disconnectedness) but into a different community, somewhere, somehow.

once upon a time communities were a geographic concept. they involved people with with the same interest, mostly the place they lived. with telecommunications connecting people, communities moved online. they were communities based on interest rather than communities of location. still, in the early days, of bulletin board services and low data rates, they were still geo-centric.

the new communities of the internet age are still communities based on interest but are becoming more geo-diverse, more virtual. and the focus is shifting from the medium (BBS, Internet, Portal) to the message (Interest, Knowledge, Education).

in the knowledge economy i guess this is good. i just can’t escape this feeling though that somehow in the rush the focus has shifted to the individual gathering things (knowledge), rather than going places to where people are (connecting). that somehow there’s been a fragmenting of community feel – of belonging.

once communities were communities of people. now all I hear of is communities of interest. where have all the people gone?

then again, perhaps I just haven’t found my neo-community.

3 thoughts on “long time passing

  1. Pingback: Anonymous
  2. It started with AOL, and down she sank. Sure, there was usenet in the BBS days, but usenet didn’t kill it. What mutated the sense of community wasn’t only the geographical reach, but the social reach as well. Before the world wide explosion of web, we could’ve reached the same global reaches with an entirely different outcome. I think what mutated the sense of community was the fact that the internet became more and more integrated with everything in life. No more was the word “modem” and “chat” nerdspeak for people the rest of the world perceived as geeks and losers. We went full circle at warp speed; so instead of having the common ground where everyone you’d encounter (regardless of location) would be a techy in his own right. Now the internet community is no different than the world as far as people go. There are miles and miles of shopping malls, a couple vacant libraries here and there, trendy’s, nerds, bullies, elderly, children, dogs, cats (see myspace), everything.

    There just is no solace now.. and it’s hard to regroup with the aid of “bucket communities” because they move on to the next one every couple of years like lemmings where only the “hip” survive, and any stragglers are lumped into “losers” “geeks” or worse, looked at as potential “internet predators”.

    There are nostalgia sites like BBSmates.com, but even they have moved on and only seem to regroup briefly once every 5 years for an appreciative glance back.

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