University of Winnipeg/Rhetoric & the WWW - Rhetoriki/E-Community & the Rhetoric of Interaction Design

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E-Community & the Rhetoric of Interaction Design Edit

Most people, when they think of community, they picture in their mind talking and laughing with friends, and creating that bond that can only happen in a face-to-face interaction. These interactions are vital to us as humans, and, because of that, we hold onto the idea that locality is necessary to complete the bond of community. With the invention of the Internet and communicating online, there are those who feel that we may be losing that necessity of locality to help us with reciprocity. Yet sites such as Youtube and Flickr provide a give and take within their "communities" that allow a deviated form of reciprocity, and, thus, may be creating a community. Those sites use visual and design implemented draws to not only attract but keep people on their sites. These features, as we have just discussed, not only follow good design, but a strong basis in social psychology and community building. Even though many might not agree with the statement that Youtube and Flickr are building community because of the lack of locality, the design features they use show that they are strongly aware of who they want to attack and why.

By looking at the websites of Flickr and YouTube in this presentation and focusing on their Community aspects, as well as their Visual Rhetoric, we have been able to come to a deeper understanding of how these sites are building community. One of the ideas we touched on was social psychology, and if we use it as a lens to view these sites it can help us comprehend how people define community, and how that definition can change from person to person. Also, the concepts of Interaction Design have brought to light the fact that many of the subtle draws of these sites play a major role in attracting and keeping users. We feel that the complex rules of Flickr and the confused visual hierarchy in YouTube have detracted from community building in these sites, while the appeal and attitude on the two sites’ homepages have helped sustain community-building. Both of these sites are obviously successful at what they are doing, and by many people’s standards they are building community. Now that these communities have started, they will need to build in a system of reciprocity that allows bonding to take place to further the effect of the community. ~the Interaction Design Team: Kevin, Arlen and Kenena

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