Designing Practice-Oriented Toolkits: A Retrospective Analysis of Communities, New Media and Social Practice

Designing Practice-Oriented Toolkits: A Retrospective Analysis of Communities, New Media and Social Practice

Demosthenes Akoumianakis (Technological Education Institution of Crete, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-100-3.ch310
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Abstract

This article aims to develop a conceptual frame of reference for analyzing and gaining insight to virtual community practices. The author’s normative perspective is that the vast majority of studies on virtual communities concentrate on managing (i.e., identifying, forming and sustaining) virtual communities, dismissing the practice the community is about. On the other hand, there is evidence to suggest that practice-oriented insights may offer new grounds for innovative engagement in virtual settings. Following a thorough analysis of seemingly heterogeneous concepts from new media, community-oriented thinking and practice-based approaches the article discusses what is it that differentiates offline from online practice, how these two are intertwined and why the literature lacks detailed insights on the actual practice virtual communities become engaged in. In light of this discussion, the Community-media-Practice grid is proposed as a guide for designing practiceoriented toolkits fostering a shared language for co-engagement in linguistic domains.

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