This reading was particularly amusing on how Rheingold made an online community seem new age cool. The people he described that started the WELL were not the sort I’d imagine them to be. “The PC was to many of them a talisman of a new kind of war of liberation.” Counterculture, activist, everyday passionate people. I find myself wishing for the same revolutionary feel in anything in our lives. The computer or online communities are so ingrained in our generation that I think it’s hard to really see the “magic”.
One select section of this piece that I liked was when he mentioned hackers. “The original hackers were young programmers who flouted conventional wisdom, delighted in finding elegant solutions to vexing technical problems, and liked to create entire new technologies.” It’s very true that hacking has deep negative connotations nowadays. Odd to see that it wasn’t always so. The most I ever see of hackers these days is in movies, or online forums teaching you how to beat the system of online games. Yay for Maplestory vacuums.
“Computer-mediated communications can break down hierarchical and departmental barriers, standard operating procedures, and organizational norms.” As wishful of a viewpoint this is, I still find myself skeptical of how substantial online communities can be. The random people that add on facebook, I never expect to be lasting friendships. The idea of online match making sites just seems absurd. Closest experience I’ve had that makes me have faith in online communities was witnessing the responses to 9/11 on Neopets. Sure it’s a “chidren’s game” site, but in that instance everything felt genuine and reliable. There wasn’t any worrying about people being fake or misleading….Going back to the idea of the internet being a “place” for those without a place in society, the first thing that popped into my head was pedophiles. Kind of worried about my train of thought, anyways I found a something