Experience Project

Digital media provides multiple platforms that allow users to connect and communicate to each other, regardless of space and time. This presents incredible possibilities to meet new people online who share common interests. The development of these online relationships on a certain platform are often called ‘online communities’. Some niche websites and social media provide space for the development of online communities.

The term ‘online community’ is widely discussed by authors such as Baym (2013), who explained that “online groups develop a strong sense of group membership.” Some niche websites, such as Rotten Tomatoes for example, relate to a specific topic and encourage the audience to participate by sharing relevant information, commenting or rating. Other websites, such as the Experience Project, do not relate to a single topic. Instead, it encourages users to create different groups, where everyone can participate and share their own experience. Some of these groups, such as “I don’t want kids” and “I have done things I am not proud of” allow people to find others who struggle with similar issues, and share their story without being judged. In this sense, online communities often define their own norms of behaviour, that allow users to relate to each other. But are these online relationships as ‘real’ as offline relationships?

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Tumblr

Tumblr is a blogging platform similar to WordPress, but it has many differences to WordPress. Tumblr is primarily used for fandom blogging, aesthetic blogging and humor blogging as opposed to academic blogging.
Communities on Tumblr are formed by similar interests, just like most communities you will find. Your blog will have a theme to it, whether that be nature photography or supernatural the TV show or.. even my little pony. Other users will follow you blog based on the if they like content you post, if they do they may post some of your content on their page meaning other people will see your work and come and follow you. You eventually create a long list of people that follow you because they like your content and people you follow because you like theirs. The difference between a community on facebook and on Tumblr is that Tumblr is anonymous until you choose to tell people who you are. You can tage blogs you follow in posts and there is also a messaging system so you can start a whole community on this website where you don’t even know who people truly are. Now a lot of the time it’s nothing bad. People just lie about little things to make themselves feel better. But what if you find yourself with in a community where you are the only person that has been honest about their true self. You have shared personal information with people you may have thought were your friends who were infact predators.

Facebook Music communities

Everybody has their own favourite kind of music, and I am pretty sure that you are all a member of your favourite musician fan club and I am not talking about a website but about groups. Those groups are kind of communities just for the fans and you can find them on Twitter but mostly on Facebook where you have public and private groups.

What those groups are doing is not only reporting where the musicians are or what are they doing but most of all supporting each others work (inspired by music or artist) and preparing for concerts. You probably hear about fan clubs actions on gigs or festivals. The main idea appears in those groups. Then the community engages in making the action visible and spread it. However, it is challenging to make whole community engage. Sometimes the community is not solid, does not have many members.

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Florence+The Machine in Lodz,  12.12.2015

Music is an important part of our lives and thanks to online communities we can share our thoughts or just read the thoughts of the others. And it is not only about being a fan of somebody, is about the feeling that you are in a community which accepts you because you enjoy the same.

Facebook Communities

With the development of social networking media,  Facebook plays the more important role in our social life. It is a very successful example of online community. Different people can interconnect each other by searching their own university, experience, the book they have read, their favourite music style and so on. For example, we have several closed groups for Westminster, Television Production students or the students who joined in the same academic project. Participate in these kind of online communities can benefit from   People can publish their own opinion, share the pictures and files, have the discussion in these groups to help spread the word. Without the Facebook communities, it is difficult to access the newest events for timely update of the development. Also, online communities helps the organizers to organize the members easier.

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The online communities is not the culture, it should be a common property of everyone. Because culture is the existence of diversity, differences, and the essence of communities is “I want to be with you”. This is a natural human tendency and social attributes.  We need cooperation, sharing, compliance with contract, meet the obligations in the social life. So it is necessary to make the transition from self-realization to social property. In fact, the community is a functional object. If it is a good design, then it is going to be a tool that everyone can use, regardless of the mass or niche.

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes is an online movie, TV, and (sometimes) video game review site. What I find most interesting about the setup of this online community, is that they have developed their own kind of rating system. The “Tomatometer”.

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They have found a way not to limit themselves to purely public, or critic opinion. Members of their online community are going to get a vast amount of varying opinions of reviews from both sides. Because of this, there are often times discrepancies between the audience score, for example, and the the level on the Tomatometer – facilitating discussion.

But, it doesn’t stop there. In a separate section of the site is the forums and, another, an editorial section for news on TV, movies, etc. These sections even further facilitate discussion and debate. So, while they are united with the understanding of the Tomatometer, there are various other forms for the judgement of the movies and television series. The forum section allows for anyone to author a forum on a specific topic.

Ultimately, Rotten Tomatoes is an easy to locate online community, facilitating discussion and information in a niche space.

Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor is an example of an online travelling community. Members share their experiences of places they have been to all around the world and can rate from 1 to 5.

I am a regular member of this community for giving reviews (good and bad) as when I plan to go somewhere I tend to read other peoples reviews to get an idea of what to expect or to find the best place to go in an area.

This is a good example of an online community because the travellers (people in the online community) do benefit from the public reviews of a specific place as it is their own experience and are not part of the company (so the reviews aren’t bias).

A problem with this online community is that reviews are from a personal experience, so may only be a one-off situation that a reviewer may be writing about which may not be a true reflection of a place. It may also be difficult with what reviews to believe as someone could just pretend to have been to place (which would be quite strange).

However, as someone who works within a company that uses Trip Advisor to gain feedback from customers, I believe it is really useful from that point of view to look for ways to improve (as we all know we can’t please everyone) and gain praise for positive reviews.

Specific reasons why people benefit from the Trip Advisor community is because it can help them pick where they want to go to within an area. The community’s reviews can also be very influential to other travellers.

 

Disney’s Club Penguin

Club Penguin is one of Disney’s many online gaming sites. The visual reality game is aged at children ages 6-14 and has over 30 million users (one of which is my little brother).

This online community of predominantly kids is a positive example of how child friendly gaming can be achieved. With the age graphic as low as it is, child safety is the main precaution. The key approaches to this include ‘safe chat modes’ which limit users to certain phrases, prevents users from inappropriate usernames and blocks profanity or any personal details. Its estimated that the company employ over 70 staff to police the game.

Children benefit from this like adults do when entering virtual reality gaming. They can take part in challenges, win awards, connect with friends and make friends alike. All in a safe environment which, is the biggest selling point from a parents prospective.

Whilst memberships are free their is also a paid option which allows players to access all the content provided. Obviously Disney wants this option to appeal to people so plug it regularly throughout the game. The reason I mentioned my brother previously was because he saw these added extras and like any child, kicked and screamed till my mum agreed to pay the membership fee. This fee is probably one of the only downsides of the site. Obviously the question of age regulation arises regularly, this can be forged and any age group can play the game, however, like I’ve mentioned previously, this site is one of the safest online currently and new privacy settings are released and improved regularly.

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http://www.clubpenguin.com