Skip to main content

Virtual Communities


I have been a part of online communities since August 2004, and joined my first social utility May 2007. At the time, I made these remarks about the beginning of my journey:
As I try to navigate this interesting 'My Space' set up process, I am marveling at the fact that I am even here. I have so much that I should be doing...

I wonder what I will find here, learn here and what opinions will form because of this decision. Perhaps I will like it. Mostly what I have seen so far is beautiful young women who prefer to make themselves appear harsh, cheap and dirty. *shrug* Perhaps I will discover why.

And, here I am two years later still pondering the value and effects of being a part of a virtual community. There are loud nay-sayers close to me, and I value their opinions, but I think I will have to respectfully disagree.

I have some experience under my belt now. I am a member of Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, not to mention several photo communities that host photos and enable 'friending'. In addition, I am part of a couple rather large hobby-based online communities. I have to admit, I enjoy them all or else I wouldn't be a part of them.

I am also a part of an extremely close local religious community, and have been for quite some time. Only by being part of a tight-knit community, where you spend so much time together, can you truly begin to observe and appreciate the ebb and flow of human relationships.

However, I continue to hear criticism of online or virtual communities. That they foster unhealthy attitudes about popularity and they are a breeding ground for gossip and a sinful lifestyle. I often hear this Scripture used as reference:
When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
but he who restrains his lips is wise. (Proverbs 10:19)

OK, so I like this gem of wisdom, but I'm not so sure that this can be applied quite in the context intended, to discourage participating in online communities. Perhaps we need to view this verse within the surrounding texts:
(18) He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who spreads slander is a fool.
(19) When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.
(20) The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver, the heart of the wicked is worth little.
(21) The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of understanding.

It seems to me that the Scripture is comparing that of someone who conceals hatred and is a fool with someone who is righteous. And, that it would be true of any social situation, not just an online community. As we spend all day every Saturday together as a community, there are many, many words spoken, and I'm sure transgressions occur. It is only natural and part of the human condition, our fallen nature. However, we don't forsake the community because of this. It is healthy and beneficial to work through these situations as a community. "The lips of the righteous feed many..."

It is the same with online communities, just not as personal. I will concede that people can and sometimes do represent themselves falsely, that is their choice. Again, that happens frequently in a flesh-and-blood community, as well. People read board posts wrong, or say things in the heat of passion...just like in any community. There are righteous participants and foolish ones, just like in any other place where people are gathered. I see no reason to not be a part of online communities because of this. Actually, it just gives me more of an opportunity to act and respond to others in a righteous and loving way. "The lips of the righteous feed many..."

In the final analysis, I think wisdom and discernment needs to be exercised when gathering with any group of people, whether flesh-and-blood or virtual. I believe that by choosing to be a part of a community, you are giving and gaining value to and from that community. I continue to say that you can learn so much about people by just spending time; either with them in person or interacting with them online. Personal profiles, self-descriptions and status posts are most revealing and can be entertaining, too. If you are a parent of a young person, you need to be in the same online community they are; not just to watch and protect, but to interact and train.

I say enter in and enjoy, and do so with righteousness and wisdom.
A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words,
and the deeds of a man's hands will return to him. (Proverbs 12:14)

Comments

Mole said…
"The lips of the righteous feed many..." -- I love that you quoted that so much. It really stood out among the other verses.

Great balance in all you had to say. ;-)
Ari C'rona said…
You've been trained well in the art of debate, my friend... Excellently stated! :o)

Popular posts from this blog

Our History with Saber Forge

UPDATE, April 19, 2012: we purchased new sabers from Ultra Saber LLC. To see a review, go HERE.
* * *
Saber Forge's Ambassador saber hilt
This post is to document and record the history of our experience with a company called Saber Forge. I would like this information to serve as information and perhaps a warning to all that are interested in purchasing a machined lightsaber, and/or are considering Saber Forge.

Saber Forge makes and sells lightsabers to be used as props with Star Wars costumes. When we started looking to purchase lightsabers that had the ability to light, Lisa posted for information on the Rebel Legion website. She was contacted by Mr. Phil Isherwood, owner of SaberForge.

Saber Forge

It is most unfortunate that we have had problems with the sabers. I love the hilt, to be honest, and felt that we got what we paid for; however, the lingering problems and now the complete lack of customer service is most troubling.

[We were so excited about purchasing these blades…

Just Throwin' It Around

I have a friend who just got engaged to be married. As he was detailing the way he proposed to his beloved, something he said caught my attention. In the course of his adult life, dating and living, he had promised himself that he would only use the actual word love towards the one who he was going to marry. He further explained that it was his thought that people 'throw the word love around carelessly' and that it had a special meaning, one meaning. For him, it was only to be used in speaking to his soon-to-be wife.

I can see his point, especially when thinking about dating. I know it happens, all too often, that relationships proceed a little too quickly and emotions peak prompting hasty pronouncements of love and devotion only to be rescinded down the line, after the passion has worn off. Careful and introspective we must be when experiencing and building a new relationship that we don't bite off more than we can chew, so to speak. I agree with my engaged friend - w…

Confession

I am a maker and collecter of Artist Trading Cards. In my world, we call them "Letterboxer Trading Cards", because they are made by letterboxers and they must have a hand-carved stamp featured on the card. I have made hundreds, even thousands of these cards, and enjoy the hobby immensely (samples shown are a few of my cards). I also collect them from other artists and letterboxers, and have a collection numbering (also) in the thousands.



So, here's the confession: I HATE LOGGING THEM! Yes, that's right, I said 'hate'. I know, that's pretty strong, but it is the only way I can adequately describe the feeling of dread that comes over me the second after I enjoy receiving them in the mail. If I were a disciplined person, I would immediately make my way to the computer, sign into to my favorite letterboxing site and let these wonderful friends know how much I love their efforts, thus easing their minds that their hard work arrived safe and sound in my care. Bu…