Sunday, June 8, 2008

The internet and online communities

Provide the web address and the name of the community you are investigating.

Tree Hugger

What is the brief or focus of this community?

Tree Hugger is focussed on environmental issues, they are dedicated to promoting sustainability.

What services are provided? How interactive is this site? How can people contribute?

The Tree Hugger site contains:
Video/radio pod casts
Weekly or daily newsletter
Relevant articles
“How to” guides for making your life more environmentally friendly

Ways you can interact/contribute to the site:
Comment wall
“Hugg” where you can post your own environmental news stories.

Consider material presented during the lecture and make comment on why people choose to contribute to this community. What is it they are seeking?

Some people are sharing their opinion on certain environmental issues, but by the most common thing is sharing information to help each other in their quest to be “green.” For example, a good place to buy organic produce, how to start a compost heap or whether urine is a good fertiliser.

Cut and paste an example of the type of topics being discussed.

Urine is a great acticator in the compost. I have a friend who never uses our tiolet when he comes to vistit. It's always straight down the garden to the compost bin. Urine has other uses too. In the near future, you might be an alternative fuel source. Scientists in Singapore have created a battery powered by urine Handy for powering all of those Christmas toys that are running out of power! Most insect bites are acid, so if you are being driven mad by itching you could use an old country remedy- a dab or two of your own urine.

Considering material presented during the course and make comment on the potential ethical issues that may arise in this community e.g. lack of identity and accountability.

Features such as forums may be misused, and because of anonymity of users there is little accountability.
As posts can be added by anyone there is the question of how reliable the information is.
This then leads to the question of who monitors and regulates the content of the site.

Consider material presented during the lecture and make comment on the benefits this community holds over traditional notions of community e.g. communities reliant on geographic proximity.

People from all around the world can interact with each other and share information, this gives us access to such a vast range of knowledge and ideas that we would not otherwise have. It is great for people who live in isolated communities or who have a rare interest that may not be shared by anyone within reasonable geographic proximity.

Consider material presented during the lecture and make comment what this community lacks or can not provide which traditional communities can.

There is no human contact and you cannot interact with others in real time so conversation would be very difficult. It would therefore be hard to form relationships with others, this may mean you don’t have a great sense of belonging to the community. Having a sense of belonging is one of the major benefits of traditional communities.

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