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History of online communities





Bluedoll
A history of online communities should rightfully start with the origin of the bulletin board system. Ward Christensen and Randy Suess started a hobbyist project using a telephone dialup connect in the late 1970’s but because of long distance phone charges, members were mostly localized. Faster data transferring modems in the 1980’s, the Dos era of the 1990’s, plus the installation of TCP/IP networking enabled users to interact globally and the BBS began to evolve into more manageable message systems.

In the history of computing, the creation of the world wide web and the web site specifically allowed people to use the network in more connective ways. People equipped with personal computers could activity search for more robust ways to communicate which in turn ignited a need to supply more universal systems.

The term online community became the catch phrase. This new phenomena of interacting with a computer became known also as entering a virtual community, virtual worlds and social networking sites.

An online community over the diverse internet took on many forms depending on the interest group. Examples of online communities were as varied as the internet itself and were really about the interests of the members involved. Anything from business to video gaming, from science research to social health issues, in fact, communities large and small began to develop into anything that was imaginable.

Message boards using specialized board software enabled a functional board to utilize a variety of topics so that a large group of members could interact in their area of interest. The community aspect of these interactive systems soon began to come into being as members correlated with other members by reading, asking/answering questions and posting topics within the message board.

By incorporating a registration process members injected themselves into a community and were able to establish their own identify. Although not all communities evolved the same way, generally those sites that had transitional members would create a sense of community by an association resembling we could say a large city. Smaller unique sites with groups that contained more permanent members took on a more stable ambience where members sensed they knew each other in comparison to a resident of a small village.

The message board became unique in that unlike a conversation, there would not be a instantaneous response and required that members actively go to the site periodically to check for responses. An advantage was realized that thoughts and ideas could have time to emerge over time about the subjects at hand. Board features such as being able to view other members currently on the board and the introduction of the PM or personal message enabled a member to communicate quickly with another.

After the initial rise of interest in message boards, people started to want a way of communicating with their communities in real time. Chat room communities and virtual worlds began to emerge as new technologies infiltrated the internet. Larger social networking sites began to appear that would allow members to share ideas, activities and interests within their own individual network.

Regardless of what technology was applied (email, message board, chat room, twitter etc.) a community was shown only to as effective as the members it attracted. In order for a community to thrive and continue to grow, interest in the community had to be demonstrated. Some communities which were constructed, very quickly or gradually declined in membership while other communities continued to grow in membership. As well, sometimes the initial intention set down at the beginning could change as the community evolved.
admin
This is an entry in the essay competition located at http://www.frihost.com/competitions/vc-1.html .
deanhills
Bluedoll wrote:
Regardless of what technology was applied (email, message board, chat room, twitter etc.) a community was shown only to as effective as the members it attracted. In order for a community to thrive and continue to grow, interest in the community had to be demonstrated. Some communities which were constructed, very quickly or gradually declined in membership while other communities continued to grow in membership. As well, sometimes the initial intention set down at the beginning could change as the community evolved.
With regard to the criteria in your essay, how would you apply those to Frihost as a community?
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