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"Apart from notions of physicality, virtual communities operate in the same manner as real-life communities"

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Introduction

"Apart from notions of physicality, virtual communities operate in the same manner as real-life communities". To what extent do you agree/disagree with this statement? Illustrate your answer with relevant examples. Before beginning to determine the similarities and differences of the virtual and 'real-life' community I believe it is important to identify what a 'community' is. The Oxford English dictionary states that a community is "the holding of certain attitudes and interests in common." But can this be said for a real-life community? In today's age it is very difficult to share a common interest with our 'community' as although we all live and work together we are still segregated. We no longer trust one another; we lock our doors, put our cars in garages and carry rape alarms in fear of an invasion from our so-called neighbours. Aaron Davidson states that: "We no longer know our neighbours because our busy stress filled lifestyles do not give us time." ...read more.

Middle

Although this identity animosity can prove the be a liberating thing for some people it can also be a very bad thing. People with bad intentions can get access to virtual communities with whom they want to cause bother. The internet is also a breeding ground for paedophiles that can pretend to be children and arrange to meet up with children in their area. This is one of the major disadvantages to an online community and is something that is less of an issue in a real-life community. Attempting to find a person with your interests in the real-life community can prove difficult as communication is often very passive and we as humans are often afraid to ask questions about one another as it is deemed 'rude'. Sue Boetcher, Heather Duggan and Nancy White say: "Online it is easy to meet someone you share an interest with. Simply go any search engine, type in your hobby and like magic a list appears of places to investigate." ...read more.

Conclusion

Such sites are extremely popular worldwide and people log on to talk to essentially, nobody. However, this is still an invigorating experience and the technology of talking computers is improving. An example of such a website is http://www.oliverbot.com. Online communities also break down the barriers of chatting with people in other countries. In the traditional community it is hard to find friends worldwide as there are often problems with different languages and beliefs. The online community allows people from all countries to interact and the invention of the online translator gets rid of the any problems faced by people who speak different languages. To state that a virtual community and a real-life community operate the same way would be dangerous because the evidence suggests that they do not. The online community is a much more open, honest and complicated place to be that the real-life community where we behave how we are supposed to and only discuss things that are socially acceptable. The virtual community allows you to become who you want to be and discuss what you want to and decide with whom you want to discuss. ...read more.

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