Can friendships really work online? It’s a strange concept to be able to forge a meaningful bond with someone without all the non-verbal cues and physical closeness that face to face communication provides. I think that online interaction can definitely be a great extension to offline friendship. Purely online friendships however are a little weird to me. I suppose it’s essentially the same concept of a pen pal but brought to the 21st century. It’s hard or me to comment on the nature of one on one friendships that start and progress online, since I’ve never really experienced that. But what I do have a bit of experience with is online communities.
A quote form the Baym article that caught my interest was, “Just having a group forum isn’t the same as having a community”. I think this is absolutely true. Just having a access to a place where everyone can talk to each other doesn’t make them a tight knit group of people that the word “community” implies. For instance, I wouldn’t really say there’s a Youtube community. There’s really just a ton trolls that try to get on everyone’s nerves. Although I have seen real communities emerge on certain websites and forums. I feel like the groups on 4chan and Tumblr for instance all bond over shared humor and language. As Baym said in his reading, words like “Epic” and similar internet language give users a kind of internal code, parts of which are exclusive to their chosen sites, and parts of which are common across all of the web as a whole. The internet as a whole also has it’s own humor. One that can be strange to non web-goers, but is slowly leaking it’s way into mainstream culture through platforms like twitter and facebook.