The Possibility & Limitations of Online Community
Dan Blank over at We Grow Media wrote an interesting if not thought provoking essay the LEGO community. He uses the community as a prime example of how it can be at once both an area of growth and an area of limits.
The LEGO community online knows no boundaries. It is diverse in terms of age, ethnicity, region, and by most any other measure. Clearly, LEGO has a huge following in the US, Europe, and Asia, but that hardly matters anymore – regardless of where you live or who you are, you can now be an active member of the community.
Because of this, every member of the community comes to understand the worldwide LEGO community, not just their local market. You constantly hear news about international set availability & prices, and I’m always amazed to see original creations from people around the world. It’s so easy to meet someone from across the world, and immediately have a conversation. In a funny way, it tears down boundaries.
He follows this up with:
For those who participate in the community, your identity is not pervasive, it is fragmented across dozens of websites. Not only do you have to create usernames on each site, but some people participate on some sites, but not others. Voices are spread too thin. It becomes hard to identify who is the same across different websites.
Thoughts? Reactions? Share yours or read what others have been saying.