As a group we presented our peers with the idea of monitoring web communities. The research question was simple, "should online communities be monitored?" We narrowed in on three specific avenues and did an in-depth case study on each of them.
Our first case study analyzed message boards, forums and threads within forums. We directed our focus towards vampirefreaks.com and the link between an active member of the site, his online threats and the end result of a massacre at Dawson College.
The second case study entailed an in-depth analysis of chatrooms (thank you to Dateline NBC for providing us with such strong material). Our group was really drawn to Dateline's "To catch a predator" series and felt it really helped strengthen our position that to a degree web communities should be monitored. And if nothing else, it made for a great discussion.
Our third and final case study was quite explicit. Social networking avenues such as myspace.com and facebook.com continue to rise in popularity but so do the obscenities that innocent members are exposed to. As demonstrated in our presentation, these supposed "monitored" sites allow users to post explicit images and use obscene avatars. While some people are looking for such things, others are simply looking to make new friends or get in touch with ones they've drifted from. Although we don't have confirmed stats and therefor left them out of our presentation, we should mention that social networking avenues are especially popular within the "tween" age group.
- Another way for automatic monitoring of web communities is using free website monitoring tools.
- Melni Ghattora (also on behalf of Ryan Caligiuri & Daniel Falloon)