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Title:Beyond the Digital Divide into Computer-Mediated Communications: A Content Analysis of the Role of Community Weblogs in Building Oldenburg's Virtual Third Places in Black America
Author(s):Igwe, Frank
third place
social support
content analysis
Abstract:Although times change, there are certain human elements that survive through the ages. These elements include the need for expression, companionship, involvement, connection and information. The avenues by which humans engage in these social practices have evolved, and with the dawn of the Information Age we are seeing the emergence of new forms of computer mediated communication (CMC), with weblogs (or blogs) being a manifestation of this transformation. Some argue that within the on going information age in American society, no single individual is disconnected or separated from others due to the existence and prevalence of Information Communicative Technologies (ICT). These technologies have proved to be indispensable and are critical to communication between individuals, cultures and communities within the larger American society (Milne 2004). This paper deals with these Information and Communicative Technologies, more specifically how weblogs (or blogs) are used by African Americans on the positive side of the digital divide to participate in virtual communities to rebuild communicative aspects of community that have been lost in “real-world” communities. In addition, the paper will determine whether these virtual communities fit the description of “third places” as portrayed by Oldenburg (Oldenburg 1999). These “third places” arise out of a need for individuals to find a dependable, neutral place of refuge to gather and interact, away from first places (home) and second places (work), often conferring or dealing with issues that may considered too taboo for public discussion by the community at large. With this in mind the researcher identified an issue within the African American community that was of consequence, and yet was not being addressed due to individual or social pressures. The problem that presented itself was the lack of discussion and social support pertaining to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Issue Date:2008-02-28
Genre:Conference Poster
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-03-08

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