Online Communities: Good or Bad? Yes.

OnlineCommunity

In Danah Boyd’s article, “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life, she defines a networked public as “a linked set of social, cultural, and technological developments that have accompanied the growing engagement with digitally networked media” (Boyd 8).  She simplifies this definition by saying that networked publics are spaces and audiences bound together through technological networks (8).  Examples of networked publics are social network websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, and websites that form around common interests such as sports, video games, or other hobbies.  There are other types of online communities, but social media sites and sites based around hobbies are two main types.  These sites allow people to maintain or form relationships with other people, feel valiSocial Mediadated as a person by gaining the approval of their peers online, and from these two things gain a sense of belonging from these online communities. These factors taken from the article “Internet Communities, Identity, and Self-Affirmations” do their best to explain why people seek out online communities in general, not just on social media.  People want to fit in, it is natural, and on social media you can now see how many people “like” what you do in your life and choose to share with them.  These online relationships function to enhance relationships that exist offline.  Friends can support each other socially online and publicly all the time instead of just in person out in the world.  Online communities that form around hobbies validate everyone that shares that hobby and joins the site.  In saying that, I mean to say that if I join a knitting site and see many other avid knitters all talking about knitting then my hobby seems more like a common, positive thing for me to partake in.  All of these things are wonderful benefits of being able to publicly exist online, but just as being social in real life has its negatives, so too does being social online.

In general, people are freer with their thoughts, opinions, and ideas online.  Walking down the sidewalk, someone could compliment you on your outfit or maybe give you a dirty look because of what you are wearing, but that will typically be the whole of the incident.  Online, however, people take things like that a step further.  Internet bullying is a major downside to online communities.  People can directly insult others over the cyber-bullying-posterinternet without much fear of any “real” consequences.  It is much harder to be mean or rude to someone right in front of you than it is to a person online and possibly miles away from you.  If someone does not like how I look in a picture then they may tell me and then all of my friends and their friends will see their opinion of how I look.  An example of beauty being based upon what is seen online is discussed in the article “Facebook: The Encyclopedia of Beauty?” that we read.  When people base some of their self-esteem on comments from people online about pictures or posts, then the rude or argumentative comments against the poster could cause them emotional harm.   Nobody likes to have anything negative said toward something they like or enjoy and online it is a common thing to be insulted.

What online communities do you belong to (if you want to share)? Do you feel that they enhance your life and your relationships?  Has belonging to an online community ever affected you in a negative way? Are online communities good or bad for society as a whole? Why?

— Ben Walker

Connected people with chat boxes picture from this article written by Avish Hakani

Social Media Picture from this website in the post by MLEE092

Cyber Bullying Dislike picture from this website and done by Samuel Flinn.

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31 thoughts on “Online Communities: Good or Bad? Yes.

  1. Carly Hernandez February 11, 2015 / 9:53 pm

    I was like everyone at one point and had a Facebook as long as I can remember. I think at the beginning the Facebook community kept more to themselves and enjoyed learning new things about their friends, families and new friends they could make. After a while though, times changed and people felt freer to put more information about themselves on their Facebooks. I felt like I was using it for the wrong things and decided to delete mine a couple months ago. I did feel as though Facebook did help to enhance different aspects of the relationships I held with my close friends and family. There comes a time though when social media goes to far. As Boyd says in ‘Internet Communities, Identity and Self-Affirmations’,“Social Networking Sites can be considered egocentric based networks where users are at the center of their own self-created virtual universe” (Boyd & Ellison, 2007) You create an identity for yourself and that is what you are known for on that online community. I generally think that online communities can be a good thing if used in the right way. You’re right; cyber-bullying is something that occurs more frequently than it should. It’s easier to say something via the internet when you’re not face to face with that person. We don’t think that our actions have any consequences since we can’t see the immediate reaction someone has or their feelings can be misinterpreted.

    We generally seek for everyone else’s approval throughout any online community. What other reasons would we make statues and upload pictures for everyone else to see? There are many people who will leave negative comments and even harass people for the way they look. This is the risk we are willing to take when we upload our content to social media websites. We really don’t have protection against this kind of harassment. They also pose dangers for many teenagers with online predators and people who we don’t know. LinkedIn, an online community for anyone who has a job or looking for a job, is a professional website used to improve yourself or your identity. You want everyone to know how successful you are and information about all the awards and degrees you have earned. I think this kind of online community is generally a positive one. There is not really any harassment, other people can endorse you for different skills making you feel good about yourself and even employers can contact you for an interview. Hopefully there isn’t a way that LinkedIn can turn into anything like Facebook or Twitter.

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    • nebior February 13, 2015 / 7:44 pm

      LinkedIn is a great example outside of the ones I listed. That community does not leave much room for cyber bullying since it is a more professional environment. That does not mean it does not have its own set of issues, but people are less likely to have bullying issues on that site. I think everyone starts out the same way on Facebook, playing the games, getting as many friends as possibly and promoting themselves nonstop. Then some people realize it and calm it down even to the point of deleting the account like in your case or they continue on promoting themselves or find some area in between the extremes.

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  2. Brandon Coulter February 12, 2015 / 10:00 pm

    While several downsides and negatives do exist centered around the use of social media and online networking, these sites serve as an integral part of personality research as well as individual creativity. When getting to know somebody better, it seems as though Facebook and Twitter both can serve as amazing starting places for understanding. Both of these outlets serve to showcase the aspects of one’s own personality that they feel to be attractive and applicable, all of which can be found and analyzed with the help of some easy online research. In order for one to truly explore their own personality as well as understanding and acknowledging the areas that they personally identify with, the communities that have been established across online social media sites have acted as a safe and accessible haven for those curious enough to try it out.

    In terms of creativity, sites such as YouTube and Tumblr as well as the aforementioned Facebook and Twitter allow for any user to express any form of creative thought or action and to post it for anyone to see. For teenagers and young adults, this is a very crucial aspect of understanding who you are to become. While those around you serve as an immediate audience for whatever form your creativity takes hold, the existence of a virtual audience leaves behind a massive amount of the fear and nervousness that accompanies a live performance or display, not to mention having the ability to take down and basically “erase” the event as if it never happened if anything bad were to occur. The internet and social media act as a useful tool for the growth of youth within the world when used properly. Through regular maintenance of a child’s internet use as well as support for all decisions and actions made by the child, one will begin to see a maturation and acceptance of identity far more clearer and safer than ever before.

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    • nebior February 15, 2015 / 3:13 pm

      I really like your focus on how the internet can, in proper doses, help mature a child. A child or teenager’s creativity is no longer stunted by a lack of audience. By being able to broadcast one’s creativity online, young people have a fast track for exploring their sense of identity. People have a better chance of being affirmed if they have a larger audience.

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  3. mvzang February 13, 2015 / 8:11 am

    My very first experience online was with AOL chatrooms. I never belonged to any communities or joined specific chatrooms with any type of agenda. Our reading “The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life”, brought up an old chatroom saying of A/S/L, or age, sex, and location. This was a blast from the past and made me laugh! Those became boring and old quickly, so I like most others got a MySpace page. This was definitely more interactive and was very cool at the time. In the same article, it brought another point, which was also a problem for me was the “Top Ten”. I had the hardest times choosing between my closest friends for my top ten, so I made a rule, always put family in there. It causes a lot less headaches.

    After those got old, Facebook eventually came along and stole the show. Who didn’t have a Facebook page? I scrolled through the pages checking out people’s photos and updates, but then that eventually got old. I also got into a profession that social media can be the cause of many problems, we’ll just leave it at that. The phrase “security through obscurity”, which I read in the same article, I would say describes me best now. I have to approve all that goes up and lead a pretty private life on social media. I can’t say that it’s hurt me too much in anyway, other than having a few ex-girlfriends over the years question who some of my friends were.

    Because of social media, people have the opportunity to interact with a large amount of people and interact often. I am often irritated by people who keep their heads down on their phones all the time, or people who check their phones constantly while you’re trying to engage in conversation. All of which I am guilty of, too, but the article “Social Media’s Small, Positive Role in Human Relationships” brings up a good point. Back in the day people would go off to work, run errands, or hang with friends, and never be able to communicate with those closest to them until they got back home or to a phone. Today, were never more than a click away from interacting with those closest to us no matter where they’re located. So while social media and technology has created some major problems, let’s not forget all the good it has brought was as well.

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    • bjuhasz10 February 15, 2015 / 3:38 pm

      I am not sure how old you are, but I am 22 and my online communities timeline is very similar to yours. I started in AOL chat rooms, where I could connect with some of my friends in middle school. For some reason, I completely skipped the MySpace craze, but definitely joined in on Facebook (which I still have but pretty much never use). The biggest benefit I get out of Facebook to this day is being able to connect with old high school friends. I don’t have thousands of friends like most people, I have a small circle, but I think that makes my relationships more authentic and easier to manage. I try to be friends with only people I would still enjoy hanging out with, and to see them grow up through our college years is a cool experience.

      There are certainly many pros and cons of online communities, especially very popular ones like Facebook. Ultimately, I think it comes down to the user. If you are careful about who you virtually surround yourself with, Facebook and other online resources can be a great tool for connecting with people, sharing pictures, ideas, and experiences, and bringing something positive to your life. As mentioned in the “Facebook: The Encyclopedia of Beauty?” article, as long as you “Begin talking to children about social media” at an early age, it can be a good experience for them and for all of us.

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  4. asibo February 13, 2015 / 8:33 pm

    The two online communities that I have been most a part of recently are Twitter and Tumblr, having effectively given up on Facebook several years ago. While Tumblr and Twitter both incorporate elements of micro-blogging, they couldn’t be more different from one another in terms of their effects and what derive from each of them. With Twitter (my account I have separate of this course), I generally come away irritated and in a negative state of mind following a quick timeline browse. I’ve made significant efforts to try and pare down the number of people I follow, who I follow, and how I get my information from the site, but I find it difficult to get a positive experience out of Twitter. However, I believe to some extent that the fact I use Twitter for news and networking about sports has some bearing on the negative vibes emanating from my use of the site, as the topic itself is typically polarizing and vitriol inducing. In terms of the type of feedback I get from other users on Twitter, it is negative by far: people sniping, taking evaluative things I say about a team or player extraordinarily personal, and even making mildly violent threats in my direction. However, on the rare occasion that I do get some constructive feedback or a nice comment, I get a lot more positive feelings due to my extremely low expectations.

    Tumblr on the other hand, I find to be an extremely supportive and fun online community to be a part of. Not only have I made several very good friends through the online community on the site, but I have never personally received any negative feedback and have often received anonymous tokens of support when I divulge the hard times I am experiencing in my life. Based on this dichotomy of social media impressions, I think online communities are not created equal. There are some good ones and some bad ones, ones that bring out the worst, and some that bring out the best in people. While the content of the collective user base determines the tenor of a social media network, I believe the form bears heavily on users interact with one another.

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  5. eakoonter February 14, 2015 / 2:57 pm

    I have always said that it’s harder to be meaner to somebody in front of their face than it is to say it behind a computer screen. We all have to be honest with ourselves. We have all bullied somebody in our lives. Doesn’t matter if it was a friend, stranger, sibling or parents. We want to fit in and we want to be loved, but it doesn’t always work that way. I think that online communities make it easier to be mean, but also easier to be nice. Let’s face it. We don’t go out of our way to like somebody’s photo on Facebook. We aimlessly scroll their our newsfeed and click the like button. See, easy but nice. Though it is also easier to bash somebody without using their name and making just sound like you’re speaking generally about everyone. “You’re ugly and your breath stinks” would be an example of such a status. Online communities just make our lives easier. Good or bad? Eh, that’s a personal opinion.

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    • nebior February 15, 2015 / 3:16 pm

      Your focus on how social media makes both sides of the issue “easier” holds quite some merit. At the end of the day, social media may just be a wash because it makes being nice to someone easier the same amount that it makes being nice to somebody easier. You may not walk up to someone random on the street and compliment them, and possibly not even a friend or acquaintance, but you may like their photo on Facebook. The same could go for an insult like you’ve said.

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  6. eakoonter February 14, 2015 / 2:57 pm

    I have always said that it’s harder to be meaner to somebody in front of their face than it is to say it behind a computer screen. We all have to be honest with ourselves. We have all bullied somebody in our lives. Doesn’t matter if it was a friend, stranger, sibling or parents. We want to fit in and we want to be loved, but it doesn’t always work that way. I think that online communities make it easier to be mean, but also easier to be nice. Let’s face it. We don’t go out of our way to like somebody’s photo on Facebook. We aimlessly scroll their our newsfeed and click the like button. See, easy but nice. Though it is also easier to bash somebody without using their name and making just sound like you’re speaking generally about everyone. “You’re ugly and your breath stinks” would be an example of such a status. Online communities just make our lives easier. Good or bad? Eh, that’s a personal opinion.

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  7. adrianhormsby February 14, 2015 / 4:04 pm

    Ben one of your comments “These online relationships function to enhance relationships that exist offline”, was of particular interest to me after reading this weeks Grad reading about Collective Narcissism in College Students Facebook photo galleries. Your comment is exactly what they found in the study. I won’t bore you with all the details, suffice to say that it was a rigorous, academic, well researched and executed, serious ethnographic study. They found that the pictures were all of themselves with their college friends (inner circle), with almost no pictures of their family. The way their were composed (informal selfies), the people in them (carefully chosen friends), the events that were depicted (usually drunken parties), the comments with pictures, as well as the comments by the friends to the pictures, were all designed to reinforce group cohesiveness and closeness. In essence, the social media tool of the FaceBook photo gallery was used to boost and foster the overall group dynamic. Stepping back and looking at the big “picture” (excuse the pun), this strategic social use of FaceBook is not only logical and efficient but a great idea given the widespread availability of internet resources among students today. What used to take place over the phone or using Polaroid photos either sent in the mail or shown to classmates on campus at the coffee shop is now replaced by social media. Yes this generation is switched on in more ways than one.

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    • nebior February 15, 2015 / 3:22 pm

      First off, there is no excuse for your pun, haha. Gave me a good laugh. Anyways, I find it interesting that people want to paint this picture of being social with their peers over showing how they fit in with their families. Thinking about my Facebook profile, I do not have family photos in the forefront, I have a picture with my fiancée as my profile picture and my pictures with my family are all buried in my albums. I suppose it makes sense that you would want to be pictured with your friends over your family because I can only imagine that the last picture a partying college student would want on their profile is a picture with a parent or sibling; that just is not “cool” enough!

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  8. mstor763 February 15, 2015 / 12:06 pm

    I am personally part of the Playstation and Facebook community. I believe they have enhanced my life by allowing me to form relationships with people I would normally never get a chance to meet. I do not believe that is has an effect on my romantic relationship, though my girlfriend tends to disagree as I spend time to catch up with these friends. So far the communities I have joined have not had negative effects, but as I join more communities and social networks (mostly for this class), I am gaining a better understanding of how big of an impact it can make.

    I believe social communities as a whole are good. They allow people to find others with similar interests and beliefs, it helps to form relationships, and can even help with forming business relationships (Linkedin). This is only if these communities are used for the purpose in which they were created.

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    • nebior February 15, 2015 / 3:32 pm

      If every community was used in the way it as designed to be used then everyone would get along much better! If every online gaming match you were not cursed at or if people did not bash your profile picture then everyone would be a lot happier! I completely agree that these communities need to be used in a positive way, the way they were intended to be, rather in the negative way that they are sometimes used.

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  9. galaradi February 15, 2015 / 12:45 pm

    I definitely agree with you when you say people online take everything a step further. I believe because they are sitting behind a screen and not directly viewing that person’s reaction. If these people were to say something negative to someone’s face, they would directly witness that person’s reaction and maybe feel guilty. However, that may not be the case for everyone.

    I am part of the YouTube community, but I’m just a viewer. I like to watch lifestyle, beauty videos, and vlogs. Sometimes, I read the comments as well. There are a lot of “haters” in the comments for no good reason. It may be because they are jealous, or an unhappy person and they take it out on everyone else online because that is their outlet. They will not be punished for it, or sometimes their name is not involved so no one can find out who they are. It is a safe place to spread negativity for them. That is why I think we see so much negativity online. People see no consequences and think they can say whatever they want with no punishment, and that is where the danger lies.

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    • nebior February 15, 2015 / 3:36 pm

      It is unfortunate that these online communities allow negativity to be spread so easily, but it is also a great outlet for the positive things to be brought forward. For every “hater” I see in the comments I like to imagine one positive viewer that did not bother to comment. Restaurants have complaint cards for you to fill out; almost none of those are used to say positive things about good experiences they had. Online reviews of places such as restaurants also tend to be negative. The point I am trying to make in those two sentences is that people tend to go out of their way to complain rather than to make a compliment. YouTube is a terrible place to read comments because MANY of them tend to be negative. So negative, in fact, that I feel the people who enjoy the videos just leave a thumbs up and head out!

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  10. lewenzel93 February 15, 2015 / 5:41 pm

    I belong to quite a few online communities. I am on facebook, twitter, and tumblr. I do feel they enhance my life and relationships. I’ve met so many people that I wouldn’t have normally. Online communities, like the ones I’m a part of, make it easy to find someone you have a common interest with and it’s a simple way to break the ice. Sure, being online in general has affected me negatively before. Overall it’s been positive, but every once in a while I’ll receive a mean, negative comment or insult from someone anonymously. Even seeing negative comments on someone else’s YouTube channel has made me wary. But just because they’re online, doesn’t make them less than a real life community. They do the same things, really, and they bring people together. Who can argue with that?

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  11. seananthony3 February 15, 2015 / 6:13 pm

    Online communities can definitely be a positive experience. My very first community was a small one (that still exists now, but with only a few members remaining), but it was a dedicated forum for Yoshi fans. I joined it 10 years ago. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but that community helped me shape into who I am. They gave me connections to things relative to my interest and I returned the favor. However, they were several falling outs, one leading to an “exodus” of the forum. The admins and moderators took their jobs too seriously, and there were several “rebels” that wanted to change how it worked. These leaders closed any topic that went slightly off, edited non-moderator posts for comedic effect, forced their opinions on others, and it lead to many members leaving for years. They had become like a family to me and I believe if we weren’t talking online-only, perhaps things would have turned out differently. You can let out more steam on people you can’t see, there were rude comments, but it was still more positive than negative.

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  12. sneff16 February 15, 2015 / 6:14 pm

    I am on facebook and Instagram. I am also on Twitter-for this class. I enjoy them. It connects me to old friends and family that have moved away or that I just don’t see that much. I see a lot of mean comments when I read news articles. It’s true that people online feel that they can hide behind their computer and wouldn’t say the things they write to a persons face. I think some people write mean things just to get people riled up and actually don’t mean the things they say.

    It’s really hard to put yourself out there on social media because it’s so easy for people to write mean things, especially on youtube. It can really hurt a person’s self-esteem.

    In general, I think online communities are positive for society. It allows us to feel closer to people even when they are far away. I think the mean comments that people leave need to stop, but I am not sure that will ever happen.

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  13. Emily Rader February 15, 2015 / 7:55 pm

    As you mentioned with the “Facebook: Encyclopedia of Beauty” article, I really think there’s a lot of truth in this. I feel like a lot of times there’s a quiet competition of who can get the most likes. I actually know a girl who (jokingly…I think) said: “Guys, I got 100 likes on a selfie on Instagram today. I couldn’t wait to tell my mom I made it!” It’s definitely an interesting concept. I’ve also seen my fair share of online bullying in comments and I think this is the most upsetting part. I hate to see people get bullied, especially because people don’t realize the full effect that they can have on people when they do this. I’m sure we have all sadly heard about the teens who have committed suicide due to cyber bullying.
    To answer your question about if we’re involved in online communities, I am! I love going on Tumblr and following feminist blogs and political blogs. I love seeing what other people think and if I ever want to feel validated, I just search the hashtag of the party of my choice and BAM! Thousands of people who agree with me. It’s really a great feeling!

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  14. kevinpayton1 February 15, 2015 / 8:03 pm

    I have belonged to a few online communities and I have personally never gained anything from being a part of those sites. Online communities in my opinion are way for some to find comfort in socializing with like minds but can also be a place for Internet misuse to occur. In these online communities there are many opportunities for people to create a façade of the person they wish to be and not the person they actually are. I understand were it gives some people an outlet not readily available for them in person. But it also is a catalyst to the problem or problems that occur in individual’s real life. The inability to face or accept yourself for who you are cannot be solved through creating a desired identity to be accepted by online. I am not advocate of online communities because I believe they perpetuate people’s lack of self -confidence. When there pages or profiles don not receive the amount of likes or friend request that they desire it causes them to resort to actions that they would not readily perform in real life. I cannot see how that is beneficial for any person to behave in that manner, especially a teenager whose identity is extremely fragile at that time in their life.

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  15. bubbastinx February 15, 2015 / 8:15 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. There was an abundance of information, and it invoked me to think of a few questions.

    What if Social Media was a greater reflection of the Real World?

    What if we are acting out on an online community what we as people do to other people on a daily basis within our lives. We are biased, and apply stereotypes to people. When people don’t think like we do, we punish them in various different ways. When a celebrity falls from stardom. We give them a few extra kicks down, and get a high off of their demise.

    Maybe this isn’t as clear, how about our ideas of beauty and the good ol “American Dream,” all shaped by a Western standard of beauty and success.

    Has anyone ever looked at how we’ve treated minorities in America.

    We have a Black President, and my best friend is fresh off the boat from India though?

    Yeah, but have you watched any of the commercials? How about any cartoons? How about the billboards? How about the movies?

    The Master can always play the help, but the help can never play the master.

    Ya dig!

    I projected that string of images to show that if you look closely that behind the curtains our society is somewhat sick. These teenagers, and others are only acting out based on what their environment displays to them.

    So, I would argue that it isn’t the online communities, nor technology, but it’s the failure of societies value system that exacerbates humans natural flaws.

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  16. Ms.McCollum February 15, 2015 / 9:03 pm

    You said that people are freer with their thoughts, opinions, and ideas online. I agree when this is referenced to bullying, but not necessarily in general posts. The reason being, for me, is that I have to filter what I say online in hopes to not ruin my reputation. Although there are people who wouldn’t care about degrading someone or saying some controversial thing to stir up conflict that is part of whom they are. If they didn’t do such a thing it would affect their reputation. If Perez Hilton all of a sudden had only nice, meaningful things to say about celebrities it would be weird.

    The virtual communities I belong to are social media platforms. I would definitely say that there are positive and negative aspects. Positive because of the mass amount of information that its readily available to us, such as a the various campaigns (ALS to name one). Negative because I think that everyone has experienced some form of cyber bullying. Maybe it was not directed at you, perhaps it was a friend. You are still affected by that.

    On a small scale I’d say that social media can enhance your life relationships in regards to family. I can stay in contact with family members and even friends I don’t see often. However, I do not think they enhance your ability to communicate with them; rather you can keep tabs on them. This does not make these communities bad for everyone though.

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  17. jaemillz411 February 15, 2015 / 9:06 pm

    I am all about using the Internet for the betterment of life and good vibes so a lot of my online communities involve recognizing individual power and attributes and using them to be better people. For instance, I follow a lot of news about feminism and how for years people have been trying to discard it. I find feminism to be an empowering force and that force is not going anywhere without a fight. At first I thought feminism was only for the betterment of women, but its not. It is for the equality of all human beings regardless of their differences (rather it be sex, race, age, etc.). It is about not having opportunities taken away from you because of something you were born with or without. And because of online communities I have become a more informed individual, which has affected my life positively. So overall, I would have to say that online communities are good because they create a support for people who may otherwise not have one and allows them to have a voice. Now rather or not that voice is good is up to the user, but that sense of belonging is priceless. It is worth it.

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  18. rmpaulk February 15, 2015 / 9:21 pm

    I actually belong to many online communities. I have a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Blog, and Goodreads. When I am online I feel like I have two personalities. I have my everyday appearance which happens on Facebook. Here you won’t find any surprises about me. I behave on Facebook the same way I behave in person. Then I have my “true” self, which is the personality you will find on my blog, goodreads, and Twitter. On here you find my obsession with books. I still conduct myself the same way, but I feel like I am being more of myself on these sites. With Pinterest I feel like you are seeing into my soul. Pinterest is where you will find everything that I like, my hobbies, my future plans, and my goals. Pinterest is like a public dirty secret lol. I definitely feel that these sites enhance my life and relationships, because I get to choose what I surround myself with on these sites. I choose who I follow or who I am friends with. I get to be involved in a book loving, blogging community and feel like I’m not alone with my obsession. I don’t think belonging to any social media or online communities have affected me negatively. I try to be really caution and conscious of the people I surround myself with and if I don’t like something I get rid of it. I may have to deal with you in person, but I don’t have to deal with you online. I feel when used correctly online communities are a good thing for society, because you get to keep in touch with those you might not have time to otherwise. It also gives you a “safe” place to be yourself and to find others like you. I don’t have many people in my life who love reading and crocheting, but I can find TONS of people online who do.

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  19. akuelbs February 15, 2015 / 9:33 pm

    Online communities are a great way for people to with other in whom they would normally not have met with over similar likes and beliefs. I myself belong to a couple of different gaming communities and i have met many people who share an interest in gaming and creating content for games like myself. Through these communities i have found people who actually are nice, kind, and care for one another. The nice thing with some online communities is that you can choose how much information you give out, and if there is someone who is bothering you, or you dont get a good vibe from them, you an block the person from communicating with you any further.
    Online communities are a good thing because they can allow for people to share ideas and work together on them. For instance, if i had an idea about a game or something related to a game, i could look for people who have a similar idea and we can chat about it. By having this same interest and idea we could swap ideas and possibly even work together on accomplishing a certain target. Yes, i understand that some communities can be completely negative because cyber bullying exist, but the way i look at it is, if a cyber bully go to the internet to try to act out toward someone, it just show their true character there in having to do it online. A person online can say what they want to me and if i like it, i will continue, if i dont, a simple block will do.

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  20. mwiedmeyer February 15, 2015 / 9:55 pm

    I’m part of several online communities, from Twitter to Tumblr to Facebook, and each of them enhance my life in different ways. I only post on Facebook if I’m confident what I’m about to post will get a certain number of likes or comments, because everyone who sees my posts on Facebook is someone I know in real life and I care more about their opinions. On Twitter, my name is available and people I know outside of the internet do follow me, but they’re definitely in the minority. Most of my followers are people I don’t know, so I post pretty much whatever thoughts come to my mind. Tumblr is 100% anonymous for me. My username is different and I have no personal information on there. I have a solid number of followers but I don’t talk to anyone, just reblog and read their personal posts. They each have their pros and cons, and I take advantage of them.
    I think online communities strengthen society because I can contact people all over the world who may have the same interests as me and can supply me with knowledge pertaining to those interests within seconds. There’s a much larger sense of global community now than there was before the internet. These relationships are not only more possible with the internet, but previous relationships are much easier to maintain.

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  21. blcarr February 15, 2015 / 10:27 pm

    At some point in our lives, we have all bullied someone be it a friend or a younger family member. The kids in this generation like to hide behind the computer screen while they put on their big boy pants. They are saying words they know they wouldn’t say in front of another human. Everybody is a tough guy. Its easier to be gangster online than it is in person. With so many online communities, its easier for a person to talk nonsense without consequences besides being banned or kicked off the site. We would make peoples life so much easier if we would take the time out to like a person’s post or pictures. Instead, we mock them by reposting there picture and sharing it with some sort of caption.

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  22. smkiraco February 15, 2015 / 10:53 pm

    The online communities I belong to are just Facebook and GameInformer at the moment. On Facebook I mainly communicate with my family members and close friends. That is it. Very restricted. GameInformer on the other hand is much more open. No real privacy options and you cannot restrict who gets to see you profile. However, I feel the most accepted there, despite using an alias, and therefore relatively more open.

    As for whether I feel they have an impact on my life, no so much. I do not base my self-esteem around others comments positively or negatively. Since my GameInformer account is open compared to my Facebook account, I will use that as my example. I am glad for others when things are going well for them, sympathize when things are going bad, and ignore any flack that comes my way from those seeking just to get a rise out of me. An example of the latter would be when I get into a debate with someone and they resort to using ad hominem. When that happens I leave a parting comment, leave, and move on with my day.

    All and all I would have to say that online communities are overall good to society. There will always be those people who decide to exploit new developments, but to those who use them correctly and learn to use them efficiently their horizons expand.

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  23. hessaj February 15, 2015 / 11:06 pm

    Online communities are great actually. It makes connections with other people who share an interest with you. Granted, it can risky, but that’s all up to you whether you give out important person information, most forums or online communities require next to nothing for an account to participate, so even if there is a risk, it’s very little. I never really used an online community, there are some forums and some reddit pages I’ve used for information and to share information, but I’ve never gotten really involved. From what I’ve noticed, for people who truly want to be involved with an online community, they can be the nicest people you’ve ever met.

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  24. thegradytrain February 15, 2015 / 11:27 pm

    Depending on the exact definition of online communities I belong to several. The ones that I frequent the most are, Facebook, Steam, and the site for the online gaming community that I am part of. I think out of those three I think I am the most active on Facebook. I feel like all three are complimentary to my life, I use each of them in a unique way too. With Facebook, I like to use it in a lot of ways, currently I think I use it the most with the group chat feature. I think this allows for me to easily stay in touch with my friends and not have to deal with the issues that come with other messaging platforms. With Steam and the other gaming communities I can also stay in touch with my friends, but it also allows me to play with other people who share my playstyle and attitudes. The most surprising thing is that I cannot think of a single community that I am a part that has affected me negatively. The only negative thing I can really think of is that I often find myself on reddit longer than I should be and tend to have negative consequences. I think online communities for the most part they have a positive effect on the people in them. For me, they compliment my lifestyle and allow me to stay in touch and hang out with people who I like to hang out with.

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