Friday, September 02, 2005

Are Blogs Virtual Communities?

Our readings for class this week include an article asking if Blogs can be considered virtual communities. This is an interesting question because I've begun to wonder if both for-profit and nonprofit organizations can harness blogs to create community and cultivate a dialogue with their constituents. The article, "Blogs as Virtual Communities: Identifying a Sense of Community in the Julie/Julia Project" argues that those who participate in the dialogue of the blog did feel that the Julie/Julia project was a virtual community, as compared to those who were more lurkers (those who preferred to read, hang back, and not comment).

It made me consider why, then, that I blog? Do I blog for others? For myself? Do I think that a community will emerge? I remember that when I started this blog, I just wanted to learn how to blog, and thought it would be appropriate to discuss a topic I was familiar with. I even thought that I was alone in the world--the only 40+ year old graduate student with children and a commuting husband. Then I took a pedagogy course and realized that there really are more of us than I even knew and if we all could actually find each other, we could actually become a community. But, that is ironically the most challenging attribute about my demographic--we are not targetable--we don't self-identify--we don't check a box saying, "I am an older student with a family trying to forge a new life for myself." Mostly, we just keep to ourselves, hoping to get through each day with clean clothes and get everyone where they need to be on-time.


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