Digital Communities and Relationships

The concept of a community has shifted era. Community is defined as a group of people living in the same place and having similar characteristics. It can also be defined in a deeper way by a feeling a fellowship to others, which results in sharing common viewpoints, attitudes, values, and goals. Vincent Miller explores the way communities have changed and shifted due to the rise and expansion of digital technology.

The scribal era a gemeinshaft type of community was prevalent. A gemeinshaft embodies tradition a unified social group. It takes place in rural areas where all community members know everyone. It is very stable. Economically they depend on agriculture and nature and all roles are divided between community members. The most important part of this type of community is that there is a limited sense of individuality or independent action. The scribal era embodies the gemeinshaft sense of community. This era had high levels of mutual dependency and a non-institutional community. For example, there was no authority system such as police. They handled their problems within the community in their own ways. Roles within the community were structured and relationships were close. They had everything they needed within a community so they did not seek any other way of living.

The modern era had community in the sense of a gesellschaft. This type of living counters a gemeinschaft because it takes place in an urban location where community members do not necessarily know each other due to numbers. It is an unstable in population because there are always people entering and leaving, such as immigrants. During the modern era, mass culture and society, nationalism, and master narratives grew and became extremely important within the community. These ideas rose from the rise of digital technology. Technology gave new ways of thinking and options for communication. It gave community members options and gave them a choice. The idea of community changed and types of communities developed due to technology. To be apart of a community you did not necessarily have to be in the same place geographically. The Internet allows us to find a more diverse sense of community and create online relationships.

The Late Modern Era, also referred to as the Modern Era, focused on networked individualism, disembedding of social relationships, and detraditionalized community. This era is open to change. It focuses on pulling apart socialness tied to a place or institution. Relationships and communities can be formed through technology without having the relationship depend on space, time, and geography. This is specifically a virtual community. Vincent Miller argues that our society is moving towards a fully networked society where there is little face to face interaction and communication. Online relationships are easy to maintain and are carefree. Our society is turning to this type of relationship.

Being apart of a community, whether online or in a physical group, has always been a value in every society and realm of life. Having the sense of placement and identity with others help us to live a happy life. Relationships are key. Through media and social platforms we have insignificant ties with people, such as liking their pictures or scrolling through their timeline. We may be “friends” but that isn’t a true friendship. The Late Modern Era has focused too much on technology, and less on physical, present relationships.