01 Information Environments and Community.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Communication, Culture and Technology
Rhonda Mc Ewen

01 Information Environments and Community Virtual Communities represent a form of Convergence  One of the most significant points at which information and communication converge is within what are commonly referred to as virtual communities  We characterize by o Shared interests by a group o Geographically dispersed o Exchanged of text, voice and images in ongoing and discursive activities  Activities that lend themselves to the engagement. It is actually outside of what we are supposed to do Participants in VCs or MUVEs find socio-emotional support and an active exchange of information  Ie. Some people use the virtual world for social support. Sometimes, it can also have negative effect on the person; one can suicide because of the virtual social space  They can function as forums for the open sharing and exchange of information o Rundmc attending a talk reflecting on identity in MUVEs MUVEs as places for information exchange or sociality?  Blanchard & Horan (1998) – the exchange and availability of information are perhaps the most important aspects of community networks o Really recognizing the same notion of community in general can carry into the virtual environment o Second life culture is profoundly human. They show us our real lives have been virtual all along (Pg. 5).  What he is trying to say is what we see in the offline world is also a virtual representation. We construct what we believe anyway, even in the so called real world. What we see, believe, and understand is also mediated by our experiences, our lives, our past, our ears and eyes, etc. If the opposite of the virtual world can be real, it may be real to us. Virtual world can also be real because it can be real to us.  Ie. The professor describes the experience of her silent dinner; we are virtually in the experience as well. We are kind of there and kind of not there.  The professor was giving information, and these worlds also depend on information. Without information, this virtual world will not exist  Wellman & Gulia (1999) – observe that information is one element but that social support is a significant aspect of MUVEs Sociality is a part of information practice  Social activities – however trivial or playful are used in MUVEs to exchange information of various sorts and that information sharing is itself a fundamentally social act (Burnett, 2000)  Information practice, as defined by Savolainen is seeking, use and sharing of information  Yet communication is often not included in definitions of information practice o It can be ironic because communication itself is information. We as communication studies see communication as a proce
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