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Cats of the World Unite!

Introduction

Young woman writing in a journal and petting her catIn the Module Notes The Internet Is Made of Cats, we discussed how the internet helped to create community around a group of people who would not otherwise have created a community in real life for a number of reasons. While cats are the most iconic of these virtual communities, they are far from the only virtual communities that exist today. For this activity, you will need to imagine (or remember!) what the world was like before social media and online communities in order to evaluate the degree to which new media has transformed the choices individuals make in terms of connecting with others.

Discussion Questions

Bayms discussion of the development of new media in Chapter 1 will help you answer the following questions. This activity aligns with module outcomes 1, 2, and 3.

For this activity, choose an online community, either one you participate in or one that you are familiar with. Then, think about how someone might have participated in a community around that topic fifty years ago vs. today. For example, how might cat lovers have shared their enthusiasm for cats in the 1960s? Try to imagine how Bayms seven key concepts would apply in this context. What creative methods might you have used to form a community before the internet? What similarities would it have to todays new media? What are the most important differences?
Consider whether the additional challenges needed to connect with others without the internet would make it less likely that participants would join or remain in the community. What impact might this have on the choices individuals would make in terms of what communities to become members of?
In your responses to classmates, suggest additional ways that your classmates might bring people together in

 

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