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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Online communities - reality check

Yesterday I did a session with around sixty people who have just completed a one-year online course. They are coordinators of community and social action projects, mostly between the ages of 25 and 35. Most were first degree holders, many in the area of sociology or psychology. None of this dynamic group of social activists had heard of Yahoo Discussion Groups and only one had heard of a blog.

If I add this new information to what I already know about my third year business students who also didn't know about Yahoo discussion groups or blogs (until they met me!) I am tempted to conclude that there may not be many young, educated people in Portugal who are involved in asycnhronous online communities.

Does this mean that they accept having lives that are shaped by new technologies and communities using those technologies ... or should I feel confident that they are being pro-active, creative and subversive in places that I don't know about?

4 Comments:

Blogger Harry said...

I always assumed that online communities like usenet (remember that), Yahoo or other discussion groups and blogs are simply another distraction. Looking back, we certainly had plenty of distractions between 20 and 35. Would we have been interested in more?

Then you have to consider curiosity. Many people have no online curiosity at all - do not imagine the wealth of data out there. They only go to sites recommended by friends or dedicated to restricted areas of interest. I had internet access for years before discovering blogs.

It is certainly an interesting phenomenon, but very much in its infancy, IMHO.

11/14/2005 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger bev trayner said...

Yes, you're right Harry. It's really in its infancy (for most people) . After writing the post I thought of how the idea of feeling like you were able to shape the world around you (rather than find your way in the world's shaping of you) is more a thing for people in their 40's than people in their 20's!

11/14/2005 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger manda-chuva said...

The first really sucessful blog in Portugal was "omeupipi.blogspot.com", which was a rude, yet hilarious blog. Then, the first political blogs appeared, such as "Abrupto.blogspot.com". These days, humorous blogs (ogatofedorento.blogspot.com) rule the portuguese panorama.
I would say that subversion is, nowadays, living without the Internet. Well, I have my own blog, so...

11/18/2005 12:15:00 AM  
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