Have you ever had an issue with a product and logged on to the company website and received valuable information about repairs and short-cuts you can take to improve? Have you used sites like Yelp to review discussions amongst customers about services or products that they have used? Well, these types of virtual communities are everywhere. From retail leaders like Amazon to colleges and universities around the world offering online classes to online dating sites like eHarmony, virtual communities are growing by the dozens and we are relying on them more and more.
As social media continues to grow, virtual communities will continue to evolve. Patients will communicate with one another in discussion groups to share experiences and ask for advice from other patients and eventually doctors. Consumers will continue to share their feedback by rating businesses and products. Singles will continue to use online dating services to find their future spouse. Websites like Receipes.com will allow individuals to share recipes, cooking secrets and short cuts as well as helpful hints to other cooks. We play games online with people around the world and don’t know who they are.
These trends will continue to grow as more and more people continue to leave busier and busier lives and utilize their mobile devices as their primary means of communications. I am not sure how virtual communities can grow more than they are already are and I am not sure of what triggers cause the movement. But what I do know is that you will be able to do almost everything in a virtual community. The only downside that I see is the next generation will lack social skills because they will rely so heavily on virtual communities. Face-to-face communication is becoming extinct.