The Internet is a potential arena for the creation of an egalitarian society. It allows users to interact in an environment where materialistic possessions and appearance do not play a role. Essentially, there is a potential recreation of one's self. However, the Internet and virtual communities are not always places where there is a sense of equality, nor are all people equally represented. An exploration of virtual communities begins to define some of the inherent contradictions, and complexities that occur within cyberspace.
I would suggest that in its most basic form CMC (computer mediated communication) takes on a textual form, where ideas are exchanged through typed prose. To label text as a basic form of communication does not mean that it cannot be a medium for the expression of powerful ideas. The ideas in a haiku, for example, are expressed simply but are robust with imagery and meaning.
meteor shower --- a gentle wave wets our sandals Michael Dylan Welch The above haiku is significant because it represents how plain text, whether it is a poem, a letter or email allows the sharing and exchange of ideas.
When people share ideas within a chat room, they are at times limited to using text but this does not imply that meaningful ideas, thoughts and emotions cannot be shared and exchanged. In the absence of "ÃÂface to face' communication, people can develop a shared sense of self something akin to the development of community. However, the idea that community can exist in a virtual environment is a contentious issue.
Community is an important term to understand, as its different definitions challenge whether a "ÃÂvirtual community' can, in fact, exist. Within the New College there are two definitions of community. The first describes community as ""ÃÂ¦a group of people living under the...