Community 2000 Essay, Research Paper
Communicating in the 20th century is no problem. There are various ways to get in touch with someone. In fact, it seems as if a new way of communicating comes up every year, and each new way makes the last one seem obsolete. People can communicate by mail, telephone, facsimile, electronic mail, chat rooms, and conference programs such as AOLâ instant messenger and internet relay chat. Some ways are quick; some are not. Some ways are cheap; some are not. One way of communicating quickly and cheaply is via the internet. Through the internet Virtual communities are created. The question is which are better, Virtual communities or real communities.
Virtual communities are built upon common interests. When you go online you can find a chat room based upon your interest. There you meet other people and discuss that interest. Although you have never met these people you get along because you have the same interest.
Real communities are based upon interest as well, but unlike virtual communities, real communities can be assembled upon things other than interest. Rarely do you see a virtual community constructed on something other than interest. Real communities can be created upon shared experiences, common friends and family, and activities that are not possible to occur over the internet.
It is impossible to go through an experience such as golfing with another or seeing a movie with another in a virtual community. We remember when that guy fell over in the middle of the aisle at the movies or when our friend laughed so hard that their drink came out their nose. These experiences are what we bond to and relate with others. Have you ever noticed that when you first meet someone you chat about basically nothing? This is because you don’t have much in common and share no past experiences. Once you do things with that person you have common experiences to talk about. This rarely happens on the internet.
On the other hand, virtual communities are easily accessible. If you are having a problem and can t find the answer, you can easily find it online. If you want to discuss the football game with or talk about the latest New York Times bestseller, you can find someone online. If you need some friendly advice or even just someone to chat with, you can do that online as well. There are plenty of people on the internet with all sorts of interests and hobbies to match everyone. It may be easier to find a friend online with that rare hobby of yours than it would be to find a friend in a real setting. This is because you are limited to a certain area and number of people in a real setting, but throughout the internet there are millions of people.
Is a real community or a virtual community more genuine? In a virtual community, when chatting online you are not afraid to hide what you really want to say. When you ask a question a person will not lie to protect your feelings. Also, another aspect of the virtual community is that there is no body language. Body language is a huge part of what we say when we are talking face to face with a person. It can tell us if someone means what he or she says or if he or she really cares. It can tell us if someone is lying or being truthful. Eye contact and the vibe we get play a major role when we are making a decision about that person during and after a conversation.
In conclusion, virtual communities and real communities have both advantages and disadvantages. Virtual communities are easily accessible when you want to talk, although real communities can be just as easily accessible whether it be through phone or even internet. People are not afraid to hide what they say in a virtual community, but on the other hand they also can easily lie. I believe that there is no replacement to a real community. There is nothing like sharing an experience with a friend, an experience that will be remembered for years to come. What you have been through with that person constructs and develops your relationship through the years. There is not much to be experienced through words on a screen. The internet can make a real community easily accessible to itself, but it can not build a real community nor replace a real community.