Last week I was running through my normal RSS/blog reads. Hit the social media blogs. Hit the advertising blogs. Hit the youth culture blogs. Hit the community focused blogs. Wait. There aren't any. Or more correctly there aren't many.
I talked to a couple of friends about this and received a couple of really good recommendations and found a couple of others that I will link to at the end here. But what am I talking about? If you go back to communities 2.0, (I would argue that Usenet and BBS systems were probably virtual communities 1.0) there was a lot of excitement and interest around Geocities and iVillage and the like. With the flameout of the advertising market there was in my opinion a vast discrediting of the community space as large ugly noisy places with lots of people and no business models to speak of.
Fast forward to today (Community 3.0) and you have the monsters of the community space in the likeness of MySpace, Xanga, Live Journal in the youth market in addition to the various online gaming communities around Warcraft, Everquest, etc. What I don't really see though are the serious discussions about how communities form, or how do communities govern themselves, or what are the different types of members of communities etc. etc.
I am sure there is more out there than I am finding but in general see a lack of concentrated thought and discussion on some of the more academic or cerebral parts around a community. My obvious fascination grows out of my past experience watching a large artist community at MP3.com and my current experience watching the fledgling community on Rabble where the most interesting commonality is that it is generally an entirely mobile phone based community.
Maybe Dana Boyd will be taking on this subject in the coming months. (I hope so)
Some of the recommendations I was given or that were made to me were the following:
The Digital Vision Project from Reuters/Stanford.
Christopher Allen - Life with Alacrity
Corante's Many to Many
Have some ones I should check out?