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Online Communities.

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Online Communities.

To start off my essay I would like to stress on the fact that an online community is not created online communities evolve and flourish. Most of the well built online communities take time and effort to establish them. In this essay I will be covering topics like how people interact in an online community, also will be looking at how to facilitate a successful online discussion and how to evaluate the success or failure of an online community.

With the dawn of the new century and advances in computing, companies and organisations realised the importance of getting a target market of potential customers and employee's which is based online and thus providing a faster and easier way for mass communication and discussions. Then came a revolution of many other online communities I quote a famous FOX News presenter "Some of the better known social computing initiatives include blogging; Wikipedia; flickr; social networks like Orkut, MySpace, Bebo, FaceBook, and LinkedIn, social book marking services like; and multiple initiatives from Google. Recently, the Hollywood film Snakes on a Plane took social computing to a new level by enlisting online fans to contribute to the making of the movie, as well as to its publicity campaign" (Biggs, 2006). This movie was the first of its kind, it had created a amazing fan following online even before it had started production since they asked people for advice n the movies storyline, and the online communities were buzzing with creative ideas they could include in the movie and the story included many user contributed ideas. It was a instant success both online and offline.

According to the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, 2006), Almost 61% of 12-to-18-year-old have at least one personal profile on a social networking/ Online community site. The latest example of a online communities success is facebook, when facebook was created a few years back people could only register if they were part of a us university, it was used by many college students to keep track of events and other friends it was a easy and free fun way to be in a online community and they could choose to keep their privacy. Today facebook one of the internet's biggest online community catering to a wide range of people who want to keep touch with each other online. What makes facebook a success? When facebook started off its owner and founder Mark Zuckerberg had given a insightful commentary on how it had all started off, that articles cannot be found on the internet anymore but what he specifically mentioned was that the site was not given the key to the castle, it basically was lucky and was at the right place at the right time. At that time most of the social networking was focused more on a particular genre or niche and was adopted by people who were in there twenties. So a major part of the online crowd was left out “the college students” and the “high school crowd”. So the enormous segment of the young crowd was captured by facebook. Another major factor that had lead to the success of facebook was that the site was designed and maintained by college students for other college students, if he had been working for a multinational company or was answerable to other older people the site would have been completely different because older people tend not to understand the trends and would have been lost in the wave. There are various other factors which helped facebook becoming a success of which one reason was PRIVACY, the fact that the facebook users could make their profiles for their friends and their “audience” and other people were not allowed to view their complete profile was a big plus to gain credibility for facebook. Also the fact argued by many people was that since facebook was developed by a Harvard college student it was a success because other students felt the sense of following towards the Harvard students as they were considered to be the “tastemakers” of the college crowd being both intelligent and fun loving, this however cannot be denied and maybe did play a significant role in the development and success of the site. Social factors should also be noted here since it included the subset of the elite students who ere able to attend “a 4 year grad school”. Lastly but not the least important factor was the design and features of the site, the simple navigation which was clutter free and organized according to classes and universities help bond many friends together in a format which was fun and informative. The speed and simplicity was unmatched by other social community websites.

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