Similarities between Offline and Online Communities
Just like offline neighborhoods, members of online communities work together to ensure that their haven is safe and tidy and suits the best interests of everyone. Both offline and online communities
Share: Perhaps the members of online communities aren’t going next door for a cup of sugar, but they’re sharing in other ways. They turn each other on to tips, links to resources, advice, commiseration, and secrets to success. They share ideas, swap stories, and answer questions.
Teach: In offline neighborhoods, the woman across the street shares her gardening expertise, and the accountant down the road offers over-the-fence tax advice. Communities have teachers. Many of them don’t set out to teach; to them, it’s all part of the conversation. The same holds true online. In conversation, the members of online communities teach and learn.
Discuss: Tight-knit neighborhoods flourish because individual members stay apprised of the issues that affect their area. They talk among themselves and decide as a united body what changes need to be made. They also discuss common interests. Though united for a common interest, off-topic discussions also take place. Both online and offline communities are places to interact, converse, and cultivate relationships.
Entertain: At home, you probably enjoy community life. You might attend parties and barbecues at each other’s homes, put together block parties, Easter egg hunts, and parades and make sure that there’s more to where you live than houses and stores.
Regular participants in online communities also do so because of their entertainment value. Sure, you also learn and make important connections, but if you didn’t enjoy participating in the events and discussions there, you wouldn’t come back.
Assist: Online communities may not experience a barn-raising or rummage sale, but members often receive support in other areas. For example, members who participate at web design forums often collaborate on design ideas and learn new techniques thanks to the generosity of other members of their communities.
Work toward a common goal: Neighbors band together for the common good. Perhaps they form a parent-teacher association (PTA) to help out with school, rally around a sick or injured neighbor, or raise funds for a veteran’s garden. Online groups do these deeds as well. They raise funds for charities, bring awareness to causes, and contribute toward the good of the community.
Beautify: One dingy home brings down the property value of an entire block. A decrepit downtown keeps people from moving or investing into a neighborhood. Ditto a decrepit online community. If a forum or social network is outdated and riddled with spam and vulgarity, members are going to stay away. It’s in everyone’s best interest to make sure that their online hangouts are as beautiful as their offline communities.
Patrol: The safest neighborhoods are patrolled by police and Watch organizations who keep an eye out for unsavory types. Community management and members stay vigilant to make sure online communities remain positive, productive places to network.
Similarities between online and offline communities abound. Members vote on issues, organize safety patrols, and carry on casual conversation. Like offline communities, online neighborhoods work together harmoniously for a common cause. Online communities cast the same positive vibe and sense of belonging.