On Virtual Communities… Again…

Quite an interesting discussion the last post generated. I for one believe that virtual communities have their place, but they should not be allowed to upstage our real life relationships. I’ve made real friends from blogging that I would include in my Top Ten all time friends, but that has come about because at some stage I, or they reached out and made contact beyond what the very open forum of blogging can provide. I’ve tried to summarize the positions you all held and tried to comment.. Enjoy…

Farida talked about the opportunity to raise issues and fight injustices via the vehicle of blogging: I agree explicitly with you on that one. The global accessibility that the internet provides makes it a great tool to raise awareness on topical issues – if people get to read it that is. With the level of internet penetration in Nigeria though, I’d be very surprised if blogs do not merely cater to the already intellectually aware.

Rita talked about the benefits of open dialogue and the improvements it has brought to real world relationships: WOW… Great point you raised, open dialogue when conducted in a respectful and unbiased manner can only be for the greater good.

BSNC talked about the learnings and the feeling of family: Valid point. I do feel that our own corner of the Blogosphere has done pretty well in adding some ‘realness’ to the virtual connections that we have. Beauty of it is people can choose to share as little or as much as they want. Good to know you are learning and discovering yourself as you blog. LOL @ giving you a headache… Maybe some headaches are good?

Simeone talked about the sharing and interaction and the potential for awkwardness when we take relationships beyond being just virtual: I agree. I’ve always being intrigued by the huge potential for collaboration that online communities CAN provide, if done right. Feel you on the potential for some awkwardness that comes from going a little beyond virtual. I do agree we’re doing great in our own little corner too.

Caramel Delight talked about her original reasons for blogging and the potential dark side to building ‘extra-community connections: Good to know your original reason for blogging is still very much in focus. And yes, we do all have problems in our real worlds. Good to know also that you’ve made a ‘real’ friend from blogging – it goes to show that virtual community can expand into real community IF we do things right. Real insights into the darker side of virtual community too. Its very easy to spice up the details of our lives just to give the impression of being cool, more so a danger in the anonymous world that is blogging – real note of caution that we need to keep resounding in our ears for our safety.
P.S. The book is available on Amazon.

LuciousRon talked about the depths of the mind and the satisfaction that comes from interacting intellectually: Spot on LuciousRon… Writing often allows people to be what they can’t be in real life. I would aver that people who are timid in real life but who write well are possibly being stifled by the environment of intimidation or censure that they grew up in. Possibly the open discussion that blogging can promote can help them actualize their real potential?

Kafo talked about blogging making her more real: Success story. Thanks for sharing.

Cider talked about the wealth of things to read on blogger and touched on the distraction that technology can bring: Valid points Cider. Again the open discussion that blogging allows can only be for the better. Have to agree with the distraction thing though. I stumbled on the book cos I was feeling cluttered by all my online activities.

LoloBloggs talked about the benefits that technology can bring: Spoken like a true techie, LoloBloggs. As you hint at, its ultimately about balance – balance between the knowledge that technology can bring to our lives and the clutter that it can also engender.

Neffie talked about the openness of mind, a friendship she’s built through blogging and gave a thumbs up to blogsville: Valid points you raised. Again, the open mind thing comes from the ability to have open discussions in a generally respectful way. God to know you have a success story with a friendship from blogger.

Original Mgbeke talked about her personal experiences of virtual communities: Success story you have here that seems to illustrate that virtual communities only satiate our need for community in the short term. If real connections are the goal, then extra-community connections have to be built.

Buttercup talked about maturing through blogging: Another success story I think. Guess its another argument for promoting open, honest dialogue in all facets of our lives – not just on blogger.

Rose talked about gaining a wider view and the need for self-discipline: Looks like the benefits of open dialogue and the need for self-discipline are recurring themes. Thanks for sharing.

Readydee talked about a lack of true community, and the potential for addiction: I agree largely with you. The book has a whole chapter dedicated to the subject of virtual community. I’d really recommend you grab a copy for a more detailed look at the subject. Virtual community is described as cotton candy, which goes down easy and satiates our immediate hunger but doesn’t provide much in the way of sustainable nutrition. As you touched upon, real friendships can only be built on a platform of sharing truthfully. I would add that a blog is open to the general public and only by providing skeletal details or staying anonymous can a distinction between intimate friends and virtual friends be made. That’s where I feel extra-community interactions come in. The friends I’ve made on blogger who I would add to my real friends list came about by talking a whole lot more than responding to blog posts.. Good luck on the de-blogging mode… I really hope you get to pull it off – or at least find a way to achieve balance between the real and virtual worlds.. Trust me its really difficult, sometime radical surgery is the only solution there is.

Temite shared her personal experiences: Good stuff, a BFF and three sisters? That has to be an unmitigated success. Key is to know where to draw the line though, between being part of the community for the sake of being part or grabbing yourself some improvements as a result.

Bwari Boy talked about the widened perspective on issues and the exposure to other people’s ideas: Another great advert for open dialogue in our real lives I think.. Thanks for sharing.

Justdoyin talked about her reasons for blogging and touched on the more open view that has come about by blogging: Valid points. Guess the key is to keep the original reason for blogging in view. That should help prioritize the kinds of connections you build on blogger.

Sirius talked about her reasons for blogging and hints at the darker side to it: Valid points you raised. LOL @ loving gist… Very succint summary i think.

29 thoughts on “On Virtual Communities… Again…

  1. More success stories than negative ones in virtual land, by the looks of it..

    Plus you have the personal experience of evolving virtual friendships into offline relationships..

    Interesting comments and analysis..

    Nice.

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  2. yes that post was indeed interesting. yes i guess you are right, some headaches are go. i was about to take another panadol for this post, then i was like okay he is explaning our point… phew

    ehen where is my gala and suya..

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  3. Nice to have you back,DB and I guess your right about the 'real' people not having access to the internet but I still believe that those on the net also need to be reminded on the impact of the information they get to the world around them….
    Miss having you around blogville,you take care.
    xxx!

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  4. Very interesting how u analysed each of our veiws. You know, if I weren't blogging, I'd be able to agree explicitly with your analysis of Luscious ron's comment, but I've come to realize thru writing that some of the 'spices' that I might add to my stories are all little parts of me, or alternate paths that the situation may have gone.

    I'm still wondering ow old u are. Now I think u may be in ur 40s…lol

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  5. Danny, i see you are enjoying naija
    we cannot over emphasize the advantage of technology and all attached to it, including blogging and online forums. I have met some of the most active/smart and wonderful people online and I have had the opportunity of growing and learning from the various online mediums

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  6. @Roc — Yup.. Lots of positives — Guess we all have to be wary of the potential for negatives too..
    @BSNC — LOL @ yr reaching for panadol again.. Hopefully I'll be less serious in the coming weeks.. Your gala and suya are in the mail. Kindly advise on receipt.. LOL
    @Dabizniz — LOL — Good for you — your vacation that is
    @JustDoyin — LOL… Just a thought on making blogging count…
    @Farida — LOL — I'd consider being missed a significant compliment — but you all are keeping blogsville lively… Valid point too about re-inforcing information in the minds of people who already are aware
    @LovePaprika — Hmm — This your new moniker — na wah O!!!! coolness of mystery — love the way that rolls off the tongue like the extra soft eclairs i'm snacking on at the moment
    @Nefertiti — LOL. Guess we all fall into that mode from time to time… Hmmmm… I'm sticking with my riddle answer on the age thing till the 29th….But no, I'm not even remotely close to being 40 yet, else my mama would have roganized Kumuyi+Adegboye+Bishop Okonkwo for a 40 day fast to break the chains of singleness!!!
    @CLG – LOL… Already on the way to you.. Just make sure that your gateman doesn't kidnap the goods!
    @Madam SSD — I stand on one leg o!! Thanks for stopping by.
    @Tigress — Yup.. Loving it.. The luxury of being able to jump on the next available Aero flight to see my peeps scattered all over Naija is priceless
    @Writefreak — Yup.. Found it eye opening too…
    @NaijaGirl — Yup. def enjoying it….Thanks for sharing your story too..

    P.S. I' unable to do blog rounds cos MTN is charging me criminal amounts for GPRS usage on my phone. Hopefully, I'll get to spend a whole day catching up next week when I finally return to Tyneside!

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  7. Once again, I sneaked off my work to read this post….

    As earlier remarked, you're good, DB. Your summation of your readers' views is impressive. I still think you took a wrong turn somewhere into engineering (if that is what you really are studying). LOL

    Thanks for hoping with me that I succeed in my de-blogging therapy. I've indeed stuck to my word. At least, I only read a few blogs nowadays. Very few actually so as not to defeat the purpose of limiting the hours spent online generally.

    Welcome back from Nigeria. I hope you found your stay truly enjoyable

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  8. Nefertiti: I'm surprised you'd assume DB is in his 40's. The guy is likely in his 30's. Narrowed down, I'd bet he's around 29yrs or 30yrs old. LOL.

    I like puzzle games. Sudoku is one of my fav. and you need to make assumptions to complete the game. I assume that's why I'm assuming DB's age is assumed to be around 30yrs. LOl again

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  9. @nana akua — guess virtual communities are all we make them be.. if we take the time to protect sensitive information
    @fanny — true.. there's a dark side tho.. key is to be cognizant of it and take appropriate measures..
    @simeone — guess i could say the same for bloggeria…lol
    @doll — Many Thanks
    @Readydee — LOL…You are very kind with your praise… I have one and a half Engineering degrees (should be two in a few months) —plus a couple of certifications too….
    Hmmm.. I'll not comment on the age thing till the 29th.. Thats all I'm going to say.. LOL

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  10. You analyzed everyone's comments? And gave reasons why they are valid? Nice. I am a journal person and having people who share similar and diverse experiences with superb and skillful usage of words is way cool.
    How was your Easter?

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  11. Havent been able to read the previous post but I already know its brilliant.
    And u analysed everyone's comment? now that is superb. will go back to read.

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  12. True words danny, there's just something 'fun' about virtual communities, not that we are 'losers' on the outiside world (like it's some kind of planet lmao) but here we get to express ourselves more freely (well I do)

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  13. @LuciousRon — WOW.. Cool… Started journalling myself only in 2006.. Really therapeutic I'd say..
    @Caramel Delight — Nope… Not back yet.. Still subsisting with working off my phone.. Though I did get to sit in a cyber cafe for a full two hours two days ago!
    @Omotee — LOL.. Thanks for stopping by anyways..
    @Buttercup — LOL.. You all made sense.. All i did was try to understand it!
    @Cappuccinnebaby — True.. There's a lot of fun to be had…. Plus the absence of censure gives full rein to our imaginations.
    @Rose — Ah… Thanks.. Errr I still don't understand your last post o!!!!

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