What Makes an Online Community?

November 12, 2017

We live in a generation where it seems as though someone’s worth is based on the number of likes his or her photo gets or the number of Facebook friends they have. It’s these numbers that make social media and other online platforms so popular because it relies on its users to keep it going. Without its users, Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram would probably be extinct. Interactions and connections make social media “social.” With that being said, I believe what makes a virtual community is having a participatory culture where users are not just users, but also producers of content. Take for instance, Youtubers, they are more than users of the platform, they are content creators. If nobody made Youtube videos, there would be nothing to watch. Remember back in 2013 the 6-second video app, Vine became so popular? It seemed like it grew over night. The number of users just kept growing and growing. While the app was an original concept at the time, what really made it so successful was the content their users were creating for each other. In 2016, the app officially closed down because Vine couldn’t keep up with competitors such as Instagram, which led to their users moving over to Instagram. This shows just how powerful and valuable users are. Users have more power and influence than they think. In addition, we as people like to feel a sense of belonging, which is why I think online communities allow like-minded people to share their thoughts and ideas with each other. For instance blogs or forums cater to a specific/niche demographic, which means its users already share something in common, creating a sense of community.

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