One Student's Observations of an Online Community Essay

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One Student's Observations of an Online Community

An online community is a place where individual users with common interest come together to build relationships with similar people. Recently I was looking through the Yahoo and MSN websites, searching for an interesting community to join. Unfortunately, all of the message boards I was interested in had been inactive for over a year. Online communities must involve growing relationships among active users. Many people believe that online communities are a waste of time and are destroying our current society. Howard Rheingold, an author, argues another point of view (92).

Rheingold states that a virtual community is an online group in which relationships are
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I found that it had a variety of message boards I did not know previously existed. In the online community, I found people from across the country participating in discussions through message boards. Within these, I found people of all different backgrounds with one thing in common. They were all college students and between the ages of 18 to 24. Through this message board I found a wide variety of different discussion boards.

Within this one site there were boards ranging from advice to pickup lines and from jokes to complaints. It appeared that any person would be able to find their own niche in this plethora of message boards. This community offered many attractions other than message boards. Upon opening the page, there are links to pictures that college students across America have sent in, funny stories people want to share, and sound effects to download. The website introduces the individuals who run it, and explains their goal for the website. They use the first page to help visitors decide whether or not this is the place for them.

It was easy to become a member of this community. All you have to do is register and sign up, giving a user name and a legitimate email address. This, however, does not guarantee that you will be welcomed into the community. There was a place to introduce yourself to all members; however, many of these users had belonged for months and years.

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