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COMMUNET  October 1996, Week 4

COMMUNET October 1996, Week 4

Subject:

Re: defining communities

From:

Philip Lauro <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 21 Oct 1996 02:19:43 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (90 lines)

At 12:56 AM 10/20/96 GMT, you wrote:
>>How does one define a community?
>
>In the context of the fascinating dialog about online affairs in Pittsburg,
>I'll take a stab at this imponderable question.  It is impossible to answer,
>but fun to try.
>
>For me, community is a rather simple notion.  It is any group of people that
>are synchronized at one or more levels for a common goal or activity. 

Take it one step further, a community is defined by groups of residents
organized along common interests, skills or desires and described in terms
of the applications of the latter in terms of community and residential
well-being activities (Skill Cells). A second level of organization is
defined by those groups collaborating and coordinating on projects requiring
more than one group 9more than one skill to accomplish) as previously
described (i.e. Organs of Solution; defined by the skill cells which
comprise them and descibed by the project necessitating their existance).
Which in turn define cross community commonality (Diamond Cells) defined in
terms of their base units (Skill Cells). Guess what, you and I think alike:) 
>
>I don't find much value in thinking of the 'virtual community' as something
>new and different.   Every time I pick up the phone and talk to a friend, I'm
>talking to a virtual friend.   
>
>If a virtual community can be defined, it began for the US around 1840 when
>telegraph networks started expanding.  The thing is very well entrenched. 
>Most kids begins training in 'virtual friendships' as soon as they learn to
>talk and handle a phone.   We are simply seeing the population of 'telegraph'
>operators expand from hundreds to millions.  The cost of sending a 1000 bytes
>from New York to London via copper cable in 1860 was an ounce of gold.  It is
>now far less than a penny. We are just talking about changes in scale.  


Virtual = communication = coordination = exchange = interaction, virtual
communities and real communities are two different things.  Virtual
communities are defined by communications and easily isolated in homogeneous
groupings, physical communities are always hetergeneous in their
complexities because of physical human conditions. We can only map physical
communities to the virtual world in terms of their practical communicative
needs.  But considering the technology available, that can be a big help.
Now, unlike the 1800s, communications are very fast and many different
presentation styles can be used. The key is creating presentation styles
people want to use which also happen to take advantage of the new technologies.

For some, the actual relization of large segments of the population actually
coordinating and communicationg must represent a fearful possibility.  I
guess it's a loss of control thing:(
Phil


>
>I find it interesting to consider the blending of our current concept of
>'community of neighbors' and 'community of corporate workers.'  As far as I
>can tell, the main successes in 'community networking' have been the gifts of
>'corporate' style communication technology in non-commercial organizations. 
>Of my organization's initiatives, the thriving communities use the network
>for 'in-house' communications.  The Native American group coordinates its
>newsletter online.  The computer user group coordinates meetings and
>logistics.  The preschool uses Internet email to educate teachers.  The
>community action center processes forms.  These are all traditional
>activities in corporate America.
>
>With this in mind, I suspect neighborhoods will increasingly function and
>look like multi-national corporations.  It is an efficient way to utilize
>resources and technology.  From an evolutionary perspective, such
>'neighborhoods' will have a competitive advantage and increase their survival
>rate. The number of 'neighborhood' groups based on corporate organizational
>patterns is probably going to increase.  It is a rather odd way to organize a
>'city' from our current perspective, but cities have always been defined by
>their communication systems. 
>
>The biggest difference between a 'community of neighbors' and a 'community of
>co-workers' is the way we join and leave the community.  Hiring and firing is
>not thought to be a 'community' role, but this may change.  The increasingly
>'corporate' style of community management poses a clear problem, one the
>technology increases regardless of spiritual or altruistic intent.  
>
>As for democracy being fostered by online services, I leave it to you to draw
>your own conclusions about how 'corporate' neighborhoods would handle the
>issue.
>
>Mark Mills
>Dallas Community Network
>[log in to unmask] 
>
>
The only difference between qualitative and quantitative information is volume.

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