Do you know what is a digital community? Well, it’s one of the things that has made social networking such an interesting and powerful phenomenon in our present world. There are many reasons that can be cited to explain the fascination of this phenomenon and yet, one thing cannot be denied – it’s the power of the digital community. It has changed the way people interact with each other on the internet. But what is it all about?
Social networking is a concept of collective interaction based on shared ideas, interests, and experiences. The first person who coined the term ‘social network’ was Mark Zuckerberg, who used it as a term to describe his online social network, Facebook. The first online communities started as message boards and discussion forums where people from different communities would meet to share information. This idea has taken off and today, there are thousands of websites that make up these online communities.
The main goal for any community is to create a sense of belonging and community. Community development aims at making these communities more attractive and interactive so that members feel motivated to participate. An example of such a community might be a technology or software community such as the Open Source Communities (OSC). The mission of the OSC is to promote software development, freedom, and participation by providing resources that anyone can use.
The most popular online communities that have become very successful are those centered on professional development. There are many different sectors within the information technology space and as such, there is a huge demand for people who can offer professional advice and mentoring. Professionals such as computer programmers, web designers, security experts, and IT managers need to be available to answer questions and share their knowledge. By offering advice and mentoring, these professionals will not only get the recognition that they deserve, but they will also be able to help those just starting out on their careers. The result of which will be a boost in confidence and job satisfaction for all those involved in the professional IT community.
Another important example of a thriving online community is the medical research community. One paper presented by scientists involved with a project had to be approved by a panel of experts before it could be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Once the paper was approved for publication, it required the involvement of a large group of people. This group of people was brought together through an internet forum, thereby linking a large number of people who might have previously had very different opinions about the project.
Clearly, there are many benefits to participating in online communities. For example, there is a need for professionals in many industries to share their expertise and knowledge. In addition, there is a need for many professionals to be able to communicate about their findings and provide input to other interested parties. Such a process, by its very nature, is very informal and flexible. Finally, by allowing users from all over the world to participate in online forums, online communities allow research scientists to make a unique contribution to global understanding.