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As if by magic...

A virtual mini-ethnography for the MSc in eLearning at Edinburgh University

Sharon Boyd

on 13 November 2013

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Transcript of As if by magic...

Virtual Community?
Where Now?
Me as member
Getting started
The door...
Terry Pratchett
Global group
Open? Welcoming? Easily integrated with current activities?
The feeling
Other groups
Am I ready?
"term community is far too vague"
Hetherington 1998
Bund: "a place for the expression of enthusiasms, of ferment of unusual doings"
Freund 1978, quoted in Hetherington 1998
Lurker, mingler, devotee - knowing my own tendancies in online communities helps me understand others?
Seeing the images appear on the book "jacket" before my eyes connected me to the group in an immediate, emotional way I had not yet experienced in a community - real-time people drawn to this at the same time as me, sitting at their own computers, having logged in to talk with their friends and families as I had, different worlds, all colliding in one artefact - magical and powerful!
Share and share alike...
A "geeking" or "cruising" group (Kozinets, 2010) with elements of "building" and "bonding"
Is this therefore attractive to the other 114,249 people? Do we prefer a more open "loose" affiliation rather than an access-controlled group?
"this wider visual context is more significant for what the image means than what the artist thought they were doing"
Rose, 2007
I'm aware that it was the recommendation of friends that brought me here, my recommendation to others that brought them here - how much of the wider group arrived as the result of the invitation of friends - meeting again for a virtual coffee over something we all enjoy? The networks and subgroups of friends and families who meet under the wider Terry Pratchett fan umbrella?
OK for the wider community discussion, but can cause some problems - book only available in UK at present yet all saw the invite - no mention of a different book for other continents?
"whether there can be a harmonious balance between the interests of community and the devices of commerce"
Campbell 2005, quoted in Kozinets 2010; p39
"like discovering a cosy little world... as soon as I found the secret door" Rheingold 1998
"Virtual communities are social aggregations that emerge from the Net when enough people carry on those public discussions long enough, with sufficient human feeling, to form webs of personal relationships in cyberspace"
Rheingold 1998
Image "evolving" - a "social petri dish" - a "colon[y] of microorganisms"
Rheingold 1998
"A grassroots element" Rheingold 1998
"the isolated archipelagos of a few hundred or a few thousand people are becoming part of an integrated entity"
Rheingold 1998
Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft - middle ground? (Kozinets 2010)
"dense web of social interaction" with "shared ritual and symbols" but not "everyone knows everyone"? Subgroup/network of those who are Facebook "friends" have a stronger connection
Aware that in this case, while I took part in the book jacket activity, I am still very much "on the verandah" (Hine 2000). Given that I know I am more comfortable on the surface of group participation, do I feel ready to become more involved in a group that requires more...
Only scratching the surface with this group!
technical issues - surprised there wasn't more support from members - not good community spirit? But then, I didn't help either - focused on "the prize"!
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