Wednesday, September 06, 2006

online communities.

What makes a community? Is it close physical proximety to others? or is it sharing, day in and day out, your life?

I have been surfing the net since 1999. I have been in chat rooms, message boards, and now blog sites. I have seen communities build and fall. I have seen friendships start that last years and some that only last a month or so. I have witnessed people who don't physically know each other support each other through times where the physical friends have all jumped ship.

People scoff and laugh when you refer to your 'friend'. You don't really know that person, they could be feeding you a line of bull. This is true and false. The person in your office or class room could be full of bull as well.

I once had a friend I made on line come and stay in my home, with my family. You know what, from the moment she got of the plane, it was like she had always been a physical part of my world.

In my game or on the boards I go to, I watch these people, fuss with each other, support each other, and love one another. It is one of the true examples of agape love I have ever seen by everyday folks.

I have seen others try to help those out of work find employment across thousands of miles. I have seen love and support for those touched by loss. I have seen true joy in someone's cause for celebration. Encouraging words for those struggling physically, mentally, or emotionally.

Just as I have seen people tear others apart with careless words. These hurt no less than if the person had been sitting in the same room with them. Sometimes crushing the one person so badly that they disappear off the radar.

My point is this; on line communities are just as real as the one in your church, your office, your school, or the friends you have over for BBQ on the weekends.

I am blessed to be involved in two on-line communities full of awesome people who truly care about each other.


Anonymous yomamma said...

Love, support and family are universal, and can take many forms. I'm glad that you know that family is what you make of it/take of it.

9/06/2006 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Beav said...

I think the reason that online communities aren't recognized as such by the uninitiated is because most of society is still stuck in the old paradigm of flesh defining a person. If there's no way to verify the age, sex, or physicality of a person, then there's no way to verify the person as a whole.

We know that's just not true. Online, I'm not evaluated on whether I claim to be a 83 year old grandmother or a 13 year old schoolboy, but on the advice I give, the support I lend, or the abuse I spew. Whatever my physical, fleshy existence, to the people online, I am what I say and what I do.

9/06/2006 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Bk30 said...

I love me some "Joe's Pizza" :)

9/06/2006 06:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So very true. I've been a member of an online poetry workshop for six years and have made some good friends--a couple of whom I talk with on the phone regularly now.

earthshoes aka mary

9/06/2006 08:56:00 PM  
Anonymous breakfast at tiffany's said...

whether it's a coffee house or a chat room, congregation is congregation, communication is communication, and having someone to depend on is ... well, you get the idea.

9/06/2006 11:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Razib Ahmed said...

I agree with you about online people. I have noticed that they are often more supportive than real life. Well, I even met my wife in Internet.

9/07/2006 06:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Gooch said...

It's a new day and age, and 'social circles' have evolved. At 32, I've had the time to grow away from a lot of my 'real life' friends that I had grown up with, etc. Being married, and raising a family, it's hard to partake in some of the old school social circles. With the online world, it's quite easy to make friends, just like you used to, with the same amount of conviction that you used to only get with face time.

Some of my dearest friends nowdays are people whom I've met online, and in fact, some have become so close, that they have moved so that we're all closer to each other.

9/07/2006 10:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

razib, you met your wife on the internet? How cool is that! Um, I met my husband on the internet. :D

I've been on the receiving end of some pretty darn good online communities. I've been sold for a long time. :)

9/08/2006 04:57:00 AM  
Blogger Cath Smith said...

Count me as another supporter (but I guess we're a biased sample group here). Like you say, I've met friends in "real life" that I know from the internet and it's like I've known them forever.

I'm always reminded by these communities that most people, by nature, are good, honest folk.

9/08/2006 09:33:00 AM  

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