A Problem with an Online Community

Written on May 27, 2015 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Musings

Let me start this off with saying that I love Blythe and I have met some wonderful people through the Blythe community. But there is a however (and I guess there’s a but too) about that, because there is a problem with Blythe being a primarily online hobby and an online community. For those that live in an area and don’t know any other Blythe enthusiasts, it’s a solely online hobby. For my first three years, it was an online only hobby because I wasn’t aware of any local collectors until I went to Portland to meet people from around Vancouver. International travel does seems counter intuitive to meeting people who live a 30 minute drive from my house, but that’s the way it worked out.

The issue with an online community is that nearly all communication is done with text. Nearly all meaning in communication can be conveyed from body language and tone. When you have a primarily online community and all of your conversations are in text, you lose a lot of the meaning when you can’t hear what a person is saying, or see their facial expression, their body language, and hand movements. People who talk with their hands, you know what I mean.

It’s hard to convey sarcasm online, or jokes, without risking offending someone (or actually offending someone). It’s even harder to sometimes see how people could misconstrue what you mean when you know what you mean and way would anyone take it the ‘wrong’ way? It’s even harder when you get offended by something that someone else said and you don’t understand why nobody else is expressing that they feel slighted or wronged.

The internet, while wonderful, has made it both easier and harder to communicate with other people.

Now online video chats… That’s a whole other story. Tone! Facial expression! My waving hands! (I’m not the only hand talker who collects Blythe, am I?)

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