Poke. Poke back. Poke. Poke back. Welcome to the world of TheFacebook, the online community where flirting with that cute person that sits next to you in class is only one click away. TheFacebook is an online directory that connects people through social networks at colleges and universities. Since being founded, in February 2004 at Harvard University, TheFacebook has expanded to many universities across the United States. In November 2004, the numbers of registered users exceeded one million. For example, the University of Florida currently has about half the student body registered, while a university comparable in size, such as the University of South Florida, has registered about a quarter of its student body. The University of Texas at Arlington currently has 6210 students registered. TheFacebook hosts facebooks for some 650 different colleges and universities throughout North America, and is one on the fastest growing online communities on the internet(personal communication, September 20,2005; firstname.lastname@example.org). To fully understand why TheFacebook is popular among college students, I created an account to experience it firsthand. In participating, I have found that TheFacebook, while sharing some characteristics of other online communities, is very unique.
What is an online community anyway? According to Merriam Webster's dictionary, an online or virtual community is the gathering of people, in an online "space" where they come, communicate, connect, and get to know each other better over time. People join online communities for many reasons, such as:
"Gathering" places where people converse, meet, get to know each other. Examples range from small spaces for families to large spaces for a wider public.
Discussing topics such as books, current events, news, global warming, and chocolate.
Socializing - informal connection places.
Planning and organizing (community groups, scout groups, sports teams) ...
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