Do online communities exist?

18Jun05

Last night, for the second Friday in a row, my blog disappeared – just upped and vanished. And again, in a state of near panic, I had to turn to my blog friends for help.

‘Blog friends’ reminds me of the time a friend at the LSE presented a proposal for her dissertation on something about investigating the nature of online communities (I don’t remember the specifics now) – and her supervisor categorically said, there can be no community in virtual space. He was of the belief that for a community to form and thrive, there was a need for real presence. The professor is a renowned anthropologist – he can talk for hours on his other pet topic GM Foods – but I cannot stress how much he was mistaken in this regard…

I instinctively knew that all it took for a ‘community’ to exist was shared experience – of some sort – I could not explain this to anyone then – but then I had had little exposure to any form of online interaction then – except for IM exchanges with friends.

Seems to me now (and increasingly to my husband) that I have no “real life? friends any more! But I am not complaining – while I wrote to my blog host vesana (and am still waiting for a reply from them), I had live support – at 11.45 in the night from friends I have never met – Ashwini somewhere in Canada and Sameer right here in Bombay – thanks guys – what will I do without you?

And it is not without reason that I have repeatedly called Sameer the ceramides of this Sunsilk blog! I damage and he repairs.

Blogging has brought me in touch with so many new voices – not always the faces that go with them – and sometimes that too. Either ways, there are lots of very nice people out there… and it has been a fun ride all the way…

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