Miller believes that even though with the changing of the times, moving from an oral society to a digital one, one now has the freedom to become a part of many different communities even though we now live in a society that is more about the individual. As an individual, we have the option to join many different and diverse communities of our choice such as communities of transaction, interest, fantasy and relationship. Although being a part of many communities seems complicated, one has the choice of how involved they are in said community and how long they would like to be a part of it with no obligations or responsibilities they would have in offline life. In oral sand scribal eras, citizens stayed local and took responsibility over each other while in the modern and late/post-modern eras you see a rise in individual roles and contractual relationships. With the way these societies changed, the meaning of community changed drastically in many ways. In oral and scribal societies, people were born into set roles and each relationship had multi-dimensional ties. In the modern and late/post-modern eras relationships are more fragmented and contractual, people on want something out of one another. Sherry Turkle argues the more we use technology the more it impacts the way we communicate with each other and we miss out on real relationships. Turkle says, by broadening the definition of community we are stripping the language of its meaning,
Miller claims, there are 94 specific definitions for the term community and if you google the definition of community the top two answers are a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common and a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals. Although Turkle thinks we are taking value away from the meaning, I think Miller’s reasons why online communities are more beneficial support that this is not the case. Miller says online communities help reverse or compensate for the lack of community in the real world and combating isolation from contemporary life, which has been happening between the transitions of the four eras especially in the modern era when the industrial revolution came along. Miller also says, online communities are more meaningful, relevant or authentic and can have perceived tangible benefits.
Although community has moved throughout many changes in history, I think it has adapted in its own way to keep up with the times. Today, our connections with others are more through wireless technology and they are becoming increasingly specialized. If someone has something to offer up, we make weak ties with them in order to keep that instrumental role or function we need. It is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the way society functions today. By having the choice to pick and choose what communities we want to be a part of, we have more opportunities to feel connections with others in different ways than we did before. We no longer have to rely on our neighbors who also happen to be our local butcher, we can go to many others with different opinions for the on specific reason of finding a local butcher and feel no obligation to return or contribute to that community ever again. Even though we have grown more apart, the more diverse connections we get making the world its own global community.