MX: Online Sense of Community, Model

Based on the reading, Josh and I (and another member from a different team) began to uncover the differences between communities in the physical realm, and those on the internet. Using the same four psychological elements discussed in the McMIllan & Chavis's theory, we uncovered the Psychological Sense of Web Community and what it might look like in terms of examples.

In terms of boundaries certain expertise and technological language barriers could divide members (we are a community of mac users, and PC users are not allowed), or even more specifically to keeping a community "separate" from other communities (and/or excluding non-members) is a log-in & password system.

and furthering the idea of online security, we can see that emotional safety parallels such boundaries. my comfort level on facebook is linked with my profile accessibility, for instance those i allow to view "me" are those i am comfortable with. And to counter this example, chat rooms do not feel like communities because of the anonymity aspect (i can distance myself).

to feel a sense of belonging there somehow exists a sense of remembrance (as much as a website can remember). caches remember my name, my information, my likes and dislikes (pandora knows i don't like radiohead playing on my fleet foxes radio). even email alerts reminding me of things lets me know, "hey member, you belong."

a key factor of web 2.0's definition is essentially all that personal investment entails. contributing to a blog, rating/voting/comments/feedback, and customization (information and aesthetics) are obvious ways we invest in the web and online communities. See: the design of my blog, the feedback I leave on ebay, the comments i leave on articles).

To unite us as members, I'll refer back to the reading again and say that memes are our uniting symbols. Like the "pig" and "the man" was to The Black Panther Party, I also share signs with my fellow member like "tweet," "poke," and ":)".

the ability to discuss, comment, and have a dialogue with members, is rooted in the web 2.0 infrastructure. Member curated content that is editable, and supplying simple feedback are good examples of how online members can influence one another.

Fulfillment of Needs:
the mere fact that many of us join web communities to combact the issue of space serves as a good example of our "needs" being met. i need to buy something not in KC, and i can because of ebay; or i want to talk to my friends from high school, and i can because of facebook. the internet is about our need for information, and the rapid collecting of it. i access the web because it can do that much easier than books, catalogs, or newspapers.

Shared Emotional Connections:
to the effect of honor, etsy has a "featured shop" and ebay gives different star colors to describe what kind of user you are. Some websites even mark an anniversary dates "Google has been around for this long!" or celebrate the power of their members by reaching certain goals (donation amounts, impacts on issues, etc.)