9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN18 Sociology of Communications and Media Research

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Online Communities Building AA, AA.325

On-line communities and Media social envirnoments

The ways communities are being reconfigured trough the uses people make of media technologies is a key aspect to understand how contemporary experience is evolving in a changing media environment. Communities and associated activities constitute a key element of such experience. An essential feature of community live is the sharing of common symbols, conventions and references to external things acquired through social contact within the community. Sense of community (SOC) (community behaviours and sharing feelings) ? is described as a feeling of membership, influence, integration and emotional support that defines a real community and characterizes the relations and bonds between members. Complementary, sense of virtual community (SOV) intends to validate these same measures in the context of virtual on-line communities. The present study presents and discusses the results of an ongoing work on the adaption of SOC to virtual communities in order to quantify both SOC for different face-to-face communities and its relation with SOV when media sharing and production is introduced amongst these groups.
Our work intends to discuss the relations between face-to-face and on-line communities when members pertaining to both communities are the same, in order to evaluate how the uses of on-line media and applications promotes both social linkage and media consumption, namely that related with communitarian live. The following operational studying communities are considered (all communities are based in Portugal): children between 8 and 10 years old (different school classes), older women (mean age 46 years) enrolled in an alphabetization class and a community of people who were involved in radio production back in the seventies in the former Portuguese colony of Mozambique.
Main contributions discussed are: the concept of SOV and its validation for different communities in relation both with face-to-face and virtual experience; the role communities have in informing media consumption and sharing options; the consequences on-line communities have for the behaviors and media use patterns depicted by existing face-to-face communities; development of SOV scale for mix face-to-face and virtual communities.