An online community is a virtual community that exists online and whose members enable its existence through taking part in membership ritual.
I love the idea of describing our online interactions as ritual. After all, ritual permeates all of what we do. I even brush my teeth in a certain way that has become ritualistic. (Start on the lower left, scrubbing around the bottom before moving to the top).
Ritual can, at it’s most basic, be defined as:
5. a. A detailed method of procedure faithfully or regularly followed
That for me is it’s most basic meaning. I love ritual as an experience, something that can be shared, and transformative.
And that is the highest ideal of any online community, to help individuals change through participation in a shared group experience. The online medium of course is very different to a religious or secular ceremony, but it’s differences afford people the option to engage in a different way, to play out other parts of themselves, which is turn allows for a completely different transformation.
That’s my thought of the day. It’s amazing the train of thoughts a simple Wikipedia search can inspire.
Anyway, I’ve brushed my teeth, now on to work.