Online Communities; Advantages and Disadvantages
The advent of the Internet has allowed us the advantage of doing practically anything on-line. For example, we can shop, do research, browse for entertainment and communicate. We do all of this without leaving the comfort of our homes. One of the most popular on-line activities is chat. One can talk to others thru on-line message boards, e-mail and instant messenger services. On-line chat, especially thru specific groups, creates Internet communities. As Neil Postman states, "All technological change is a Faustian Bargain. For every advantage a new technology offers, there is always a corresponding disadvantage (289). On-line communities offer many advantages which I feel outweigh any disadvantages.
A community is composed of a group of people that share similar interests. This holds true for both on and off-line communities. Although I haven't participated in any chat groups or instant messenger services, my other half, Dave, participates in them on a regular basis. An avid music fan, Dave uses them to keep up to date and talk about some of his favorite musicians and bands. He's able to get information which is important to him that he may have missed and meet new people. The only thing that he considers to be a disadvantage, is when people whom he wouldn't talk to off-line try to talk on-line with him. However, this is simply just a nuisance as he doesn't have to reply if he prefers not to.
On-line communities are advantageous to many people. Those with physical and/or
mental disabilities, who may be shunned by the majority of people in real life, can "belong on-line. They only have to reveal their disability if they choose to, whereas in real-life it can be easily discerned. Persons who are shy and may not say certain things face to face have the
"security of anonymity on-line, they can "act and choose to be any personality