Re: Images of Community

Nils Zurawski (zurawsk@UNI-MUENSTER.DE)
Wed, 15 Mar 1995 15:23:31 +0100

My image of a community on the Internet varies with the differnt things

A newsgroup is like a market. If you are new, you get what you want, but
you. After a while you clearly see, you are not an insider. There are
fights and other personal relationships you do not have clue about. But on
the whole it stays very unpersonal.

A mailing list like Anthro-L is more like a bar I agree with that. A bar
with regular though. When I first came in I only read the posts and
thought, good god they know each other for a some time. I didn't know
anybody, anybodies background. When I first put forward some questions,
they were answered, without letting me know that I am a new member that had
to be initiated. There is nothing like an initiation on this list. Is it
that list esspecially or is the form of belonging to the group?
I am still no regular contributor to the list, but feel comfortable here by

I can't see the global village or a small town community though as a
picture for the Internet. An urban community would be closer, but not
exactly what I see.

A lot of my image has to do with the way of the use and the aims of people
in using this form of communication.
Sometimes it looks more than 1000s of villages that don't know each other,
that are in their little niche. Finally they found someone that shares
their twisted ideas and they chat along...

The Internet is segmented, as any urban place, as villages and small towns
to a certain degree. I think it is an illusion when people say we wilol be
one community on The Internet, one global society. here are a.) too many
people missing on the Internet to fulfill that claim (e.g. the poor Afrika,
Asia, Latin America and of the Western industrialized countries as well)
and b.) too many people with too many differnt ideas about the use of this
communication form.

The Internet is a mirror of what the "real" world looks like. And here we
do not have a global society, but societies, although we have a global
economy, global communications, but that doesn't involve cultural identity
and mobility in the first place.

An example could be the NAFTA treaty. There you have one economic space,
but no free mobility of the people. The issue of migration explicitly
excluded from the treaty. Of what use then is the Internetto these people?
Can the Internet help them, make them part of a community that denies them
i real life?

I haven't found the answers yet but keep on working on them.

You may help with your suggestions, more questions etc.