Week six: ‘Community’ as networks and entanglements

Entangled communities? (Photo by Noor SethiUnsplash).

As I become entangled in the ds106 community, while building my micro-ethnographic artefact, I reflect upon how the vast complex ds106 community consists of numerous overlapping/entangled networks or “micro-communities”.

#ds106 Twitter hashtag word clouds (SocioViz)

Hashtag word cloud (04-02-2020 to 10-02-2020)
04-02-2020 to 10-02-2020
Hashtag word cloud (07-02-2020 to 13-02-2020)
07-02-2020 to 13-02-2020

“Micro-communities” seem grouped around ‘central consumption’ activities (Kozinets 2010: 31), like assignments/challenges, occurring in different online spaces (Twitter, blogs, ds106radio etc.) and co-existing in physical on-campus spaces. Might this exemplify the blurred boundaries between ‘virtual’ and ‘real’ (Hickey-Moody and Willcox 2019)?

You might also view ds106 as a community of practice (Lave and Wenger 1991; Wenger 1998), whereby people with a shared domain of interest participate in and construct an identity around the community.

My involvement as a lurker/listener or ‘newbie’ (Kozinets 2010) has largely involved posting ‘within’ the ds106 flow, without comments from others, and have felt the distinction between my ‘open participant’ status and ‘core’ university students (and perhaps secluded?). However, I have commented on others’ blog posts and, as my confidence grows, started to branch out to Twitter, and connect with related communities/hashtags.

Considering ethical issues, I have taken care to be clear I am carrying out a small study and to anonymise quotes (Fournier et al. 2014: 3). As danah boyd (2014: 57) says, ‘there’s a big difference between being in public and being public’.

Finally, as I become entangled in ds106, I reflect on Hickey-Moody and Willcox (2019) who, drawing on Barad (2007), acknowledge their entanglement with what they are researching, and argue more-than-human assemblages produce feelings of ‘community’ and ‘belonging’.

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