Thursday, February 1, 2007

Where is There?

In this article author John Perry Barlow gives a testimony of his experience within online communities. As an early supporter of the Internet, Barlow suspected that everything this new community he belonged to was missing would eventually develop due to technological advances. He was soenthused by what he had discovered, he took it upon himself to co-found and organization whose goal was "protecting [the] interests...of virtual communities [the] physical government." Since then some time has passed, a lifetime for the technological world, and "many of the near-term benefits I anticipated from it seem to remain as far in the future as they did when I first logged in. Perhaps they always will." He blames his loss of enthusiasm on the lack of things "that make life real to [him]" within an online community; diversity, weather, violence, and sex to name a few. I agree with these claims, but their relevance in deciding whether or not to participate within online communities is only partial. Everything we do in life can only do so much for us. It is the balance of all the things in our life that gives us everything we need. This mirrors the idea presented in the gaming debate we read. Being so, the fact that online communities can provide everything we might want out of them doesn't necessarily mean they aren't worth our time. It may be useful, however, to understand what they, and other parts of your life have to offer. Bringing this information to your consciousness may help you maintain that healthy balance.

Barlow, John P. "Is There a There in Cyberspace." 1997. Utne Reader. 29 Jan. 2007 .

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