Reading on social structure of virtual communities?
September 15, 2004 8:41 PM   Subscribe

I am interested in the social structure/stratification of virtual communities. Any good reads on this topic? [more inside]

I was thinking about this in regards to Metafilter recently, and someone (can’t remember who) mentioned “Metafilter” celebrities, and this got me to thinking about the social aspects of MeFi. Has anyone written on this topic before (maybe not in regards to Metafilter specifically)? Is such a thing as social stratification even possible in a social space like Metafilter?
posted by Quartermass to Education (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
What does social stratification mean? (I'm guessing groups of people, haves and have nots, but I guess there's more to it).
posted by holloway at 9:15 PM on September 15, 2004


yeah, that is pretty much it. Think of class, but not in purely economic terms. It is "the condition of being arranged in social strata or classes within a group"
posted by Quartermass at 9:18 PM on September 15, 2004


Members vs non-members vs. Chatterboxes vs. lurkers vs. Pre-2001 vs those who came in late vs. Friend of mathowie vs. mathowie doesn't know I exist vs. "I was famous before I joined MeFi" vs. "I'm famous because I joined MeFi" vs. "I'm a plebian" vs. "I'm ignored because I joined MeFi" vs. "I always ignored"

I'd like to just say I'm a non-celeb!
posted by riffola at 9:29 PM on September 15, 2004


Gah, it ought to be "I'm a plebeian" and "I'm always ignored"
posted by riffola at 9:31 PM on September 15, 2004


Well #mefi is a distinct group and we hate you all.
posted by holloway at 9:36 PM on September 15, 2004


i'm a non-celeb too! i like to hold hands with my strata. (what?)
posted by kv at 9:58 PM on September 15, 2004


And there was that 9622.net, and the mefiswappers.
posted by holloway at 10:02 PM on September 15, 2004


1142.org, Monkey Filter, the NYC meetup crew, and I guess the banned users.
posted by riffola at 10:09 PM on September 15, 2004


This, from the always-interesting ming.tv, may be of use.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:01 AM on September 16, 2004


Also, remember the days of the "'Miguelistas' vs. everyone else"?

*shudders*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:02 AM on September 16, 2004


shirky prolly has something on this.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:23 AM on September 16, 2004


I think that John Suler's "Psychology of Cyberspace" might cover what you're looking for, and a whole lot more besides. It's a little old, but still worth checking out.
posted by Jart at 5:51 AM on September 16, 2004


Meatball Wiki is a site focused entirely on the dynamics of online communities and social interaction. You could explore that site for weeks. Take your time looking around there; I'm sure there's material there like what you're looking for.
posted by Khalad at 6:56 AM on September 16, 2004


Riffola: I'd like to just say I'm a non-celeb!

I call bollocks! :D

As for the actual question, I've read one or two books about online communities. Problem is they were written something like 5+ years ago and were based on very early online communities, or were simply trying to extrapolate/guess what such communities would/could be like in the future.

Heck, look through that recent list posted somewhere (forget which color it was posted on) about books mentioning MetaFilter...I'd imagine many of those may be on-topic ;)
posted by cyrusdogstar at 7:23 AM on September 16, 2004


I've read one or two books about online communities. Problem is they were written something like 5+ years ago and were based on very early online communities, or were simply trying to extrapolate/guess what such communities would/could be like in the future.

This is exactly why I am asking. It seems as if a lot of the authors of these works treat virtual community as a "theoretical" as opposed to the down and dirty day to day experience of actually participating in one.
posted by Quartermass at 9:55 AM on September 16, 2004


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