My First Report


Report on the Psychology of Virtual Online Communities

Online Communities by:  Marilyn Ortal G11/Spring 1999 University of Hawaii

Instructions for this report






Table of Contents:
How do Virtual Communities Work?  How do they spread?  What types are there?
Case History of a Virtual Community
Participation/Membership
Significance of the Existence of Virtual Communities
Generational Reports on Virtual Community or Cyberspace Citizenship
Compare and Contrast
Conclusion
Some Online Resources on Virtual Communities
 
 

How do Virtual Communities Work?  How do they spread?  What types are there?

Virtual communities needs a loyal audience that return again and again.  Besides creating useful, lively content and updating it regularly, virtual communities create a sense of community, so that people keep coming back.  These virtual communities spread by allowing people to communicate with each other in real live chatrooms, as well as bulletin boards.  Virtual communities need to create creative ways for people to interact such as having contests, surveys, and also real life face to face meetings.  There are a lot of virtual communities which range from recreation, to health concerns.
 
 

Case History of a Virtual Community:

Here is an example of a virtual community, College Club.  This web site leads you to a virtual community where thousands of college students gather in one place.  This virtual community allows students from different Universities all over the country to talk about current events, for example, the High School Massacre in Littleton, Colorado.  It also provides a real live chatrooms for students to communicate with one another.  College Club also provides many resources pertaining to students, for example, links to sources for financial aids, or sources for job searching or how to create a resume.  One of College Club's significant feature is being able to communicate with other students in other Universities and Colleges in your major.  College Club has 10,000 student groups to choose from and if you don't like the ones they have, you can create your own group.  Student groups are interactive bulletin boards where you can post messages and discuss current events in your major or what ever the topic your group is discussing.  It is similar to the discussion boards that we use at   http://www.kalama.doe.hawaii.edu/webx/.  Aside from all these features, College Club also provides free e-mail address, voice mail, and web page.  The membership for College Club is free and all you have to do is register and it's free.
 
 

Participation/Membership:

I would participate in a virtual community as long as it fits my needs, for example, I use College Club a lot.  College Club provides a lot of resources for college students like me.  I enjoy interacting with other students from other Universities and Colleges in my major.  We have a lot of things in common, it's a neat way of meeting friends, and networking.  A lot of students especially in my Psychology group have visited Dr. James' web site and they find Cyber Psychology a very interesting course.  I would participate in a virtual community as long as I don't need to pay for any type of membership fees.
 
 

Significance of the Existence of Virtual Communities:

The significance of the existence of virtual communities is that they allow interactions between individuals that would not have been otherwise possible.  In a virtual community one can interact with people all over the world, which would not be possible without the existence of virtual communities. Virtual communities are mediums in which people can share their common thoughts, feelings, and opinions about certain topics without a face to face conversation.   It is also a place where people can get together and socialize without leaving the comfort of their home.

Virtual online communities are a part of what we call Cyber culture.  A culture that has its own unique characteristics and rules which governs its establishment and existence.  It is similar to face-face communities in that there are rules that governs the
interactions between people.  Virtual communities are similar to face-to-face communities in that they need active members to keep the virtual community alive.  Virtual communities works the same way as face to face communities because it provides an opportunity for people to interact among one another.  In a virtual community, you can choose to participate in discussions or not, just like in face to face communities where one can choose the group of people he/she wants to have a discussion with.  I believe that an evolution in cyberspace of virtual communities has already begun.  With the advancing technology that we have today, there are new and creative ways of inventing means of communicating, like virtual communities.
 
 

Generational Reports on Virtual Community or Cyberspace Citizenship:

Jocelyn Manibusan's report: Jocelyn's definition of virtual communities "are places where people come together to share their thoughts, feelings, and opinions about a particular issue."  Unlike, Jocelyn, I am a part of a virtual community.  Her content in her work is very clear, specific, and easy to understand.  I like how she has other virtual communities that she recommend, although those communities I'm not so interested in.  Both our definition of a virtual community is quite similar.  I believe that Jocelyn has done a thorough investigation on a virtual community and she has gained a lot of information from it, like I have.

David Chang's reportDavid defines virtual communities as "An online community is any site or groups of sites that have a regular group of visitors who are able to interact with each other in on for or another via live chat, bulletin boards or email."  I agree with David as my definition of a virtual community is similar to his.  Like myself, David also participates in virtual communities.  I find some of his communities that he participates in very interesting, but something that I would participate in, for example, satanic.org.  I enjoyed reading David's investigation on Virtual Communities, but the satanic.org kinda scared me.
 
 

Compare and Contrast:

One of my classmate's report is under construction at this time.
 
 

Conclusion:

One way that future generations can improve on my investigation on Virtual Communities is to find a community that interests you and actively participate in them.  I feel that the only way to know how  virtual communities work is to actively participate in them.  I feel that this is an inventive way of networking also.

Some of the steps that I have taken to complete this investigation are:


 

Some Online Resources on Virtual Communities:

These are some virtual communities that Dr. James recommends you to look at.  These are sites that gives you a lot of information about virtual communities.  It also gives you a description of some of the on-line communities within the site.  These sites are excellent resources for anyone who might be interested in participating and becoming a member of any online community.

1.  http://rdz.stjohns.edu/~storm/
2. http://www.behavior.net/mhn/bolforum/message/32
3. http://www.shassan.com/
4. http://www.grohol.com/
5. http://www.netaxs.com/~jamesiii/papers.htm
 

One virtual site that I highly recommend and one that I actively participate in is called, College Club.  It is for  college students to be and students currently enrolled in a College or University.  This virtual community allows students from different Universities all over the country to talk about current events, for example, the High School Massacre in Littleton, Colorado.  It also provides a real live chatrooms for students to communicate with one another.  College Club also provides many resources pertaining to students, for example, links to sources for financial aids, or sources for job searching or how to create a resume.  One of College Club's significant feature is being able to communicate with other students in other Universities and Colleges in your major.  College Club has 10,000 student groups to choose from and if you don't like the ones they have, you can create your own group.  Student groups are interactive bulletin boards where you can post messages and discuss current events in your major or what ever the topic your group is discussing.  Okay enough already, you should just go and check it out!!!  Have fun!!!