chapter  4
21 Pages

Expression in Virtual Communities

ByJared Schroeder

The interconnected, online relationships that form in virtual spaces in the network era are easily classifiable as "imagined communities," but they are of another kind than Benedict Anderson described. Anderson envisioned regionally founded, or at least geographically based, imagined communities. He understood such communities forming within the minds of individuals, with the help of the shared language and other characteristics within their geographically rooted locations being consistently delivered to them via print media. The depth and nature of the information that flows within and without virtual communities is substantially influenced by the relative strength of the ties that those within such generally intentionally formed groups share. The nature of the ownership influences the spectrum of potential ideas that can or will flow through such spaces in a way that the First Amendment would generally never allow. The community formed around a common interest and was characterized by a diversity of contributions regarding potential outcomes within the show.