In class today we discussed how virtual communities are really online communities and that Facebook (and other sites like it) is really a virtual extension of our physical being. Basically what I got from the discussion is that my Facebook page is my tool into the community, and because I can physically meet with some, or all, of these people at some point in real time, it is not really a virtual space.
I have a Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter. I use Pandora, Stock.xchng, StumbleUpon. I shop online, pay bills online and each one of these online communities would be just fine without me I’m sure…but I like being connected.
My Twitter experiences do not create a disconnect or withdraw me from society, but I can see how immersing oneself into an online gaming community could. I like seeing pictures, and reading Tweets my friends post on Twitter, it makes it seem like they are with me sitting on my couch, watching B.B.T., while Twittering about it. And when I do see them it feels like no time has passed because as Leisa Reichelt says “Knowing these details creates intimacy. (It also saves a lot of time when you finally do get to catchup with these people in real life!) It’s not so much about meaning, it’s just about being in touch.” I like that.
My interactions with Twitter vary. And I like that Twitter happens in synchronous time, and that there is no demand for a response. There are days where I Tweet 5 times, and there are days that I do not Tweet at all. Some days I check my Twitter page multiple times (I am really just interested in what others have to say, and I am mainly looking for Twitpics and links). I follow friends whom I know in my embodied space, as well as Twitterers I know only in my online community.
When I am not logged in to Twitter there are things that I do because of Twitter. For example, when I read a Tweet that has a link to an interesting article or web page, I might bookmark it on my computer so I can check it out later. Like this one.
In regards to the digital divide there are things you need for entry in this online community. They include: access to a computer and the internet, basic computer skills, a user name and password, knowledge of the site and and the desire to be connected.
When you Tweet you have to plan ahead. At least I do, since there is limited space for your thoughts. You need to be succinct because you only have 140 characters to tell your followers what is on your mind.
There is Twitterquette , which I knew existed because of social norms, but until now had never looked for, or read them.
It took me awhile to become comfortable in my Twitter surroundings.
Now I feel right at home and I like the ambient intimacy.