Virtual Communities…Is it the new face-to-face?

05 Mar
ALA Virtual Communities and Libraries Member I...

ALA Virtual Communities and Libraries Member Initiative Group Meeting on Jan 24 2009 (3 of 3) (Photo credit: ALA staff)

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 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.


Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “Virtual Communities…Is it the new face-to-face?

  1. Jac-Ennedy

    March 16, 2012 at 12:47 am

    You raise a valid point on the gradual disappearance of “Social Skills” from this generation which will be gone completely in the next. I am of the opinion that ‘bullying’ for instance, is a direct result of video games and time spent in doors on the computer and/or TV by kids today. The idea that everything will someday be done or at least be available to be done online is alarming. imagine that in our future, patients will be self-medicating from virtual community advice and online dating will be the norm. As much as i like this evolution, i dread the full outcome, as every society has its criminal elements. i wonder what the evolution will mean to such individuals with evil on their mind?

    I agree that a way forward will be for us to encourage face-to- face time as much as possible so that at least we will continue to remember we are human beings and not the images we see around us. We sure need an online “finishing school” to help with social skills and etiquette.

    Great Post!

  2. beesbucketpicks

    March 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Hi There,
    I see why you think that becoming more “virtual” could harm being “social” for future generations to come.
    However, I have to think that all of this technology has made our world more “connected” in other ways that benefit us indirectly. And there is bad and good from this.
    What I mean by this, as an example; all the Apple products get launched and we are where we are today with them. iPhones, iPads and Macs and even Skype (which has nothing to do with Apple) – all have kept people we don’t get to associate with on a regular basis and they keep us up-to-date and connected with each other. This could perhaps make them feel closer to us than they actually are.
    As opposed to your family who you are in the same room with and can touch, we choose to stay connected by technology rather than choosing to maybe go outside and kick the ball around in the yard and talk to one another.
    Becoming “virtual” is good because it expands our personal space. However, very bad because we also can easily become disconnected from the people who mean the most to us who are reachable distance!


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