Community@cyberspace.com : an ethnography of community and commerce on the Internet

Conradie, Liesl (2000-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The Internet and its Cyberspaces were developed in the 1960s to create a means to transfer information without the risk of interception and annihilation. Today, 40 years later, the Internet has grown in both size and application. The most used applications are still conversation and sharing of information. This thesis is an ethnographic account of my experiences in a Cyberspace of the Internet- a virtual community with the name Amazon City.com. Virtual communities are spaces on the Internet where people come together to discuss their daily lives, issues and anything that's appropriate for the particular community. It is seen as a response to the demise of third places in off-line life, globalisation, etc. The communities that form in these areas develop cultural assumptions. These cultural assumptions are revealed to a new member through time and interaction in the conferencing area. The assumptions that I experienced range from knowledge needed to be an excepted and successful member of the community, to language use and identity of the members. The conclusion was reached that members view their participation and membership in these communities as just as fulfilling and real as their activities in off-line communities. Further aspects that make a site a growing and economically feasible business strategy for its owner(s) were my next focus. Internet commerce is growing at an astonishing rate. Internet business does not only imply the selling of products on-line. Computermediated communication devices have been implemented on commercial sites after it was found in the early 1990s that people are looking for something more than just another shopping area. Other ways that this type of dot com site uses to generate revenue and whether the members on the site are perceived as citizens or ultimately as consumers were also studied. It was found that members see themselves as citizens but site loyalty will push them to act as consumers when need be. The commercial aspects of these sites are a part of and necessary for the existence of the dot com site, and the community that fosters there.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Internet en sy Kuberruimtes is ontwikkel in die 1960s as 'n manier om inligting oor te dra sonder die risiko van intersepsie en vernietiging. Vandag, 40 jaar later het die Internet gegroei in beide grootte en toepassing. Die mees algemene gebruike is nogsteeds kommunikasie en die oordrag van inforrnasie. Hierdie tesis is 'n etnografiese studie van my ervaringe in 'n Kuberruimte van die Internet- 'n virtuele gemeenskap byname Amazon City.com. Virtuele gemeenskappe is areas op die Internet waar mense bymekaar kom om hul daaglikse lewens, kwessies en enige iets toepaslik vir die spesifieke gemeenskap, te bespreek. Die tipe gemeenskap word gesien as 'n reaksie van die verval van "derde plekke" in af-lyn lewe en globalisering Die gemeenskap wat vorrn in hierdie areas ontwikkel kulturele veronderstelling. Hierdie veronderstellings word openbaar aan 'n nuwe lid deur tyd en interaksie in die konferensie area. Die veronderstellings wat ek ervaar het strek van kennis benodig am 'n aanvaarde en suksesvolle lid van die gemeenskap te word, tot taal gebruik en identiteit van die lede. Die konklusie is bereik dat lede hul interaksie en lidmaatskap in hierdie gemenskappe as net so bevredigend en "eg" ervaar as hul aktiwiteite in hul af-lyn lewe . Verdere aspekte wat 'n webblad 'n suksesvolle en ekonomiese vatbare besigheids strategie maak vir sy eienaar, was my volgende fokus. Internet besigheid groei teen 'n geweldige spoed, en impliseer nie slegs die verkoop van produkte aanlyn nie. Rekenaar-ondersteunde komrnunikasie toestelle is geimplimenteer op kornmersiele webbladsye nadat dit gevind is in die vroee 1990s dat mense soek vir 'n plek wat meer is as net nog 'n winkel. Ander maniere wat hierde dot com webbladsye gebruik am inkomste te genereer en of die lede gesien word as burgers of as verbruikers word ook bestudeer. Daar is gevind dat die lede hulself sien as burgers maar webbladsy lojaliteit sal die lede aanspoor om as verbruikers op te tree indien nodig. Die kommersiele aspekte van die tipe webbladsy is 'n noodsaaklik deel vir die voortbestaan van die dot com webbladsy, en die gemeenskap wat daar ontwikkel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/51655
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