What does it mean to belong to a community? How do you know you belong?
For me belonging to a community is that sense of validation and support. I belong to several communities, such as the Latino community where other Spanish speaking people get together to talk about what is going on in Latin America in Spanish and feel the support of other like minded people who share the same culture. I also belong to the Ipswich Library community where people get together online and offline to talk about books and other Library services. Then there’s my Facebook community comprised of family, friends, co-workers and fellow students, where we share comments, photos, games and other computer related applications. And finally, I belong to the university community which may include up to three or four different universities depending on how many units I am enrolled in. Community for me is not about being present physically, rather it is about participation. (Galley, et al 2012, 6).
When I began to participate in the many different communities, whether they were online or offline, then I knew that I belonged. I began to care enough to have a say and to contribute content and give advice where needed. I believe that you know you belong when you start communicating with others in your community, how you communicate and how often is just as important. (Galley, et al 2012, 9). Being mindful of others around you and showing consideration is what being part of a community is all about.
Galley, R., Conole, G., Panagiota, A. (2012). Community indicators: a framework for observing and supporting community activity on Cloudworks. Interactive Learning Environments. 1, 1-23.
What is the difference – if any – between a ‘real’ community and a virtual community?
I really don’t think there is difference between what I term as online community and an offline community. In my other post I stated that to belong to a community, one must participate, regardless of physicality. For example, on the Facebook group page, students offer help, advice, and levity to others. It is a place to go to when I have questions that might not necessarily have to do with studies. Likewise, with my offline communities, I can go and have a chat to my friends and relatives, ask for advice, grab a cup of coffee or share good-natured gossip. I believe that Dr Wu (2010) said it best when he purports that having the two types of communities along side, rather than one replacing the other (particularly the virtual over the ‘real’) will ensure you have that balance.
Wu, M. (2010). Virtual vs. in Real Life: The Value of Relationship Perspective. Lithospehere. Blog Post. Retrieved April18, 2013, from http://lithosphere.lithium.com/t5/science-of-social-blog/Virtual-vs-in-Real-Life-The-Value-of-Relationship-Perspective/ba-p/14871.
Who are you – yes YOU? How do you compose yourself online and offline? Is there any difference?
Generally, there is not a lot of difference. I type a lot because I talk a lot. I am a chatterbox! However, I tend to try harder when I’m commenting on Facebook because I would like to be seen as witty and clever, when the sad reality is that I’m not. At the moment, only my kids laugh at my jokes! I’m a nerd and proud of it, so I make lots of references to Sci-Fi flicks… “These are not the droids you are looking for.”
I’m not as open on BB because I believe there’s a time and place, and this is a place of learning. The same goes for Facebook groups, although I’m more relaxed there. Like many others I’m very private when it comes to personal stuff, so I’m constantly checking security on Facebook. Only my friends can see photos of kids for example, so I only have good friends added to my Facebook as well as family. As a Christian I tend not to swear or write crude jokes, so I don’t have to censor myself.
I believe that if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all, and the same goes for commenting on any social networking site. This keeps me out of trouble, I think.