Howard Rheingold brings a sense of perspective and history to the conversation around our current understanding of community
Are blogs really that different though?
Morio & Buchholz (2009) separated this into three levels (visual anonymity, disassociation with real and online identities, and lack of identifiability.
- Visual anonymity – When individuals communicate without seeing each other. A good example of that is using text-based chatting programs over the Internet. People’s physical appearances are obscured in that scenario.
- Dissociation of real and online identities – A single individual can create more than one online identity using more than one screen name & avatars. Individuals then have the ability to become more than one person with dissimilar personalities. They also have the ability to adopt new genders & races.
- Lack of identifiability – This is the level closest to true anonymity online. When individuals cannot be identified, their behaviors are not distinguishable from others. An example would be an online forum in which people can post anonymous comments without attaching usernames to that post.
The four types of discussion found online can be used to identify the general tendencies individuals have as they communicate, comment, and react in online spaces. An individual may have a series of posts and comments that spread across multiple quadrants as they socialize and participate in online spaces. Yet, wherever there is a large concentration of messages on this model, that identifies the type of communication you generally engage in.
This matrix really has me thinking, especially about different contexts online. For example, with a Twitter chats, when you have different people meeting together with different intents (dialogue vs. debate), how is it that it works? Or does it?