“Dumbledore’s Army”

In dreams, we enter a world that’s entirely our own.- Albus Dumbledore

 

Imagine you find a place, veritably, a community where you can explore and go beyond your imagination and splurge out those inner most ‘fanfic obsessions’, with people you don’t know and who don’t care what you wear, that would be magical, wouldn’t it? A nicotine rush perhaps (in a very healthy way of course).

In this blog, I’m going to talk about a community which fills that obsession for millions, a very accomplished closed net alliance, the HPA, Harry Potter Alliance, a community where fans come together to open up and connect with each other. HPA isn’t just any fan faction website it also commits to educational purposes; it uses parallels from these fictional content worlds as an incentive for civic action. It musters young people across with issues of global literacy, equality, and human rights, and are in supports of charitable causes.

 

hpa-campaigns

 

It builds bridges between cultural and political participation in a manner of speaking it exemplifies the principles of connected learning. The community was established by an activist Andrew Slack, and is run by a non profit organisation in California.They have a good record of community collaboration. For e.g. the HPA holds a campaign annually called “Accio book drive”, where members till date have donated over 87,000 books to local and international communities, and more so. Another successful collaboration was when the HPA raised over $123,000 for Partners in Health in Haiti in just two weeks for ‘Helping Haiti heal’ campaign. Feel free to share your opinion, or a similar project that you may have heard of. You can also visit the potter alliance website here:

http://www.thehpalliance.org 

YouNow not YouTube.

YouNow is a site where you can watch and broadcast live stream videos, in a sense YouTube…but live. The site which is also available as an app is split up into streaming categories such as boys, girls, DJ, pets and more; this separation of different categories allows the user to find something that interests them fast, resulting in them finding a whole group of people who also share the same interest.

The Live aspect of YouNow is what makes it so appealing for users, unlike YouTube where you have to wait for content to be released and communication with the content provider is limited as comments get lost among the sea of other contributes; in YouNow they are there in the now. This means that responses are instant; song covers are always popular on YouTube well in YouNow even more so, uses get to put in song requests and have them performed instantly right in front of them. Another great point as well is that this sight is worldwide so there is always people broadcasting 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

On YouNow there is a huge sense of community anyone can log in for free and watch broadcasts or broadcast themselves. Although content goes out live contributors seem to be very open talking about rather serious and hard hitting topics, in some cases popular broadcasters have been talking openly about their battles with mental illness, see the chat box just fill with just a stream of commets full of support for the broadcaster or sharing similar experiences asking for advice. I feel it’s a rather heart warming community; no dislike buttons on an option to send a like, love or funny gifts; You can feel this community sense as soon as you open the site.

(https://www.younow.com/)

PostSecret

One community that has flourished online for more than ten years now is PostSecret. Started by Frank Warren in 2005, the concept of PostSecret is simple: write down a secret anonymously on a postcard and send it in. However, the idea has become huge, with more than a million secrets being sent in over the past ten years. New secrets are posted each Sunday.

The community that has sprung from PostSecret is huge. People band together to support complete strangers online, knowing nothing about them except their deepest secrets. PostSecret now travels the world, doing events at universities, where people can share their secrets.

The reason this community has become so tight-knit is because of the openness. People genuinely feel like they can share anything, even if their darkest secrets will be viewed by millions of people. The secrets can range from funny to memorable to serious. Below are some examples of different secrets that have been submitted:

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I think that one of the big advantages to PostSecret is that people share very uncomfortable thoughts, but often these thoughts are fairly common. It’s comforting to see that you are not the only one feeling some of the things that get mentioned on PostSecret.

One possible disadvantage to PostSecret lies in the advantage of anonymity. Since posts are anonymous, it is difficult to reach out and help someone who is struggling, or connect on a personal level to other users of the site.

Overall though, the PostSecret community is supportive and ranges all over the world. Going to a PostSecret event in person will bring the experience to life in a way the Internet never could, so the fact that this community has now transcended the bounds of the web speak to the needs of people to talk about their secrets and let them go.

YouTube as an online community

YouTube is well known for its positive online community; especially among young teenagers. There is a myriad of YouTube personalities that you can subscribe to in order to watch their videos on a regular basis.

I think YouTube is an example of a positive community due to the fact that the people that subscribe to one person’s videos will normally also subscribe to the same other people’s videos too. For example, subscribers who watch ‘Zoella’ will also watch her boyfriend’s YouTube, as well as her best friend’s, hey boyfriend’s friends and their girlfriends. The list goes on.

This gives YouTube a huge sense of community because it is as if you know this whole group of friends, and thanks to ‘vlogs’ you can see what they do on their day-to-day life too.

Furthermore, the people who do watch these videos are able to communicate with one another on the comments of these videos and also on other forms of social media. Some of the fans also arrange ‘meet-ups’ whereby a group of fans from the same area will get together and bond over the YouTuber’s they love.

However, there are certain limitations to this online community, one being that it can seem extremely one-sided; with one person posting videos and the ‘fans’ expressing their love for this person. Indeed, these fans may argue they benefit from this community because they can get ideas from the YouTube stars when they post the likes of reviews and hauls.

 

 

 

 

Positive Community

Linkedin

There are thousands of communities on the internet, which include; forums, online chat rooms, game consoles, social networking sites and so on. In my opinion, a good example of an online community that is positive towards its users and its purpose is the social networking website, LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is in essence a place to connect with people who you have worked with, managed or share a common skill or interest with. It is used primarily for business, in the sense that it is a professional place to showcase yourself from a working or educational perspective. Some people say that LinkedIn is like any other online CV builder, but I think it is more than that. The website allows you to connect with people who are similar or a friend of a friend. It isn’t like your traditional social networking website as it isn’t a competition as to how many friends you have, or how much you post. It is simply designed to showcase work and find employment – which is especially good for media related jobs.

The benefit to its members are simple, include as much detail and experience as possible to help improve your online presence and the chances of being employed.

If you haven’t got an account, I urge you to create one as soon as possible.

http://www.linkedin.com

Facebook

As much as having a Facebook annoys me it is an online community. There is so much interaction through Facebook. You can post albums of photos that people can go through and comment on. You can also tag people in images and even posts. Tagging someone in a post seems to be the new way of using Facebook these days. The only notifications I get are being mentioned in a comment on a funny video. You can also create an even smaller community by making a group for an event or for university. There the members can see who is going to this event or university and they can make new friendships. Facebook has endless amounts of ways to involve yourself in this community.

We discussed in class today about Catfish. This is definitely one of the negative sides to Facebook. It is such a comfortable place that people get wrapped up in this online world. They are easily convinced that the people they are talking to are real. This is where many people can get hurt physically or mentally. I know I wasn’t allowed to have a Facebook until I realized that even though it’s a friendly online community that just as in every community there are dangers.

http://www.facebook.com140630-facebook-emotions-1749_4f881e85b96bea3a796ae8d7e0ab44c4-1050x700

Instagram

Instagram is an app that allows users to share their pictures and videos, to follow friends or celebrities as well as to like and comment on other people’s posts and even message them on direct message.

However, Instagram is used not only for the purpose of following  your friends from your personal account, but to also use it as a platform where you can build  your businesses or can share hobbies and interests. There are many pages on the app which were created for the main purpose of sharing certain hobbies or lifestyle. Those are the pages that make Instagram an online community where people with the same interest can “meet” and interact with each other. Here are some examples of online communities on Instagram:

  1. The Shade Room: is a page with 3.7 million followers, where people can find the latest gossip regarding celebrities. It is literally the best page to go to if you want to find out what happened between your favourite rapper and his baby mamma drama or who are the new celebrity couple. Each post has thousands of comments made by followers where they share their views and discuss the story with each other.
  2. Kim K Lookbook: is a page dedicated to Kim Kardashian’s fashion outfits. It is perfect for all the girls who like her style and want to dress like her. Each post is a picture of Kim Kardashian or a Kardashian member that clearly shows their outfit and a description of where each outfit is purchased from.

I personally think that having such pages on Instagram is a very good way to find people who have the same interests as you. You could find a person from the other side of the world that agreed with something that you commented on Kim K’s picture and eventually follow each other and become friends. They also benefit users by doing the job for them, for example the outfit information is researched and already described for you so that if you want to dress like your favourite celebrity all you have to do is go to their lookbook page. If you want to know the latest gossips you can go to the shade room without having to spend money on gossip magazines and instantly find out everything!