Supporting Online Communities with Technological Infrastructures

Supporting Online Communities with Technological Infrastructures

Laura Anna Ripamonti (Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-561-0.ch132
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A lot of experiences with online communities (AOL, CompuServe, The WELL, Listserv and so forth) pre-date the Web, and some researchers have suggested that “the origins of online communities were very close to the counter-cultural movements and alternative ways of life emerging in the aftermath of the 1960s” (Castells, 2001, p. 53). The FreeNets movement, which emerged mainly in the United States (U.S.) and Canada in the second half of the 1980s, was basically aimed at providing citizens with free access to the Internet and providing content free from any form of control. In that framework, both Community and Civic Networks emerged, which are very nearly the same but for emphasis on the empowerment of the proximate community (Carroll & Rosson, 2003), on the “sense of community” and on the promotion of “citizens’ participation in community affairs” (Schuler, 2001). FreeNets, Community and Civic Networks also shared features such as bottom-up development and, especially at their beginning, the use of Bulletin Board System (BBS) technologies (De Cindio & Ripamonti, 2004).

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