RE: [cp] "communities of practice" F2F vs online
- Very true, Steve. I keep reading in various articles that structures such
as Second Life, Digg and even Ebay are web communities. For academic
purposes, we feel the need to have to try to quantify what community means.
I think that this is like the Emperor and his clothes. If most of the
people in a supposed community do not know each other well enough to get a
cup of coffee (or as you said."it doesn't feel like a community"), you may
not have a community, but just a wiki.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf
Of Steve Denning
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 12:33 PM
Subject: [cp] "communities of practice" F2F vs online
Fred writes: "F2F and online interactions are different and probably
result in communities with different characteristics."
It depends in part on what you mean by a community. If you mean a
group of people who trust each other enough to speak frankly, and
share a common responsibility for the good of the group, then my
question would be whether you can ever create the level of trust of a
real community unless there's some face to face meeting at some
point. Without that level of trust, what you have is a kind of
network that occasionally has some sharing and insights, but you
don't the kind of openness and mutual caring and shared
responsibility for the group that you get with a community.
Do the 518 members of com-prac form a community? It doesn't feel like
one to me. When I met some of the members last year, I certain felt
closer to them. And when I had a teleconference with some of the
members, that also helped. But when I think about all the 518 members
of com-prac, I don't feel I know enough about them to think of them
as a community. Am I mistaken?
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- <<One of the most pressing issues on my mind is the one Steve raises
re: who is the person that unifies the various identities.>>
The short answer is that WE, each of us, does not unify our
identities. We present them to the world and other people unify them
for us. We are left from situation to situation trying to figure out
how they've done it, hence our comfort with old friends.
Years ago, when conceptions of the "social" still influenced social
psychology, the issues of multiple identities was dealt with in terms
of personality and character. Eriving Goffman's "Presentation of Self
in Everyday Life" and "Frame Analysis" are obvious choices for this
kind of discussion. C. Wright Mills and Hans Gerth's "Character and
Social Structure" (1953) also comes to mind. But, I like the summary
of the issue offered in Jane Morgan, Christopher O'Neill, and Rom
Harre's "Nicknames: Their Origins and Social Consequences" (1979).
"The front we present to particular people on particular kinds of
occasions is our personality for them. Character, on the other hand,
is our reputation in the minds of others, particularly with respect
to what one might call our moral qualities, such as integrity,
slipperiness, reliability, propensity to gossip or intrique. If our
personality appears on the surface of our actions and in the
expressive mode, our character is supposed to be a summary of the
deepest and most stable features of our permanent inner selves. But
it is gleaned from the experiences other people have of us, in social
and other contacts, and is modified and transmuted in their gossip
about us and their commentary upon our affairs. Attributions of
character, then, are based upon much that appears as personality, but
involve interpretation and moral assessment. Personality is shown,
but character has to be read (p. 4)."
That quote sums up as well as I ever could why I persist in my claim
that trust between persons occurs faster in face to face encounters.