Face-To-Face to Online… How Do We Translate

By: Emily Sullivan
Face to Face interaction is one of the foundations of life. Whether it is business, communication, social or something else, from the beginning everything had to be face to face. Until the internet was invented that is. Now so much of communication and person to person interactions happen through a screen, and it has so largely changed how people communicate.
The Internet has changed communication in so many ways. Specifically when it comes to communication within communities. Communities can be so important to people for many different reasons. Usually people are attached to their communities that they are a part of for their own set of reasons.
For myself, one face-to-face community I am a part of is my basketball team. Being a college athlete I get to be part of that athlete community and it is so crucial to my identity. It is such a well functioning community because of all of the welcoming attitudes and support that comes to college athletics from fans across the country. However with the good also comes the bad. There are large groups of sometimes rival fans who spew hate at college athletes, but sadly often times that hate comes from their own Fan base as well. This can sometimes create toxic environments for the athletes and it’s definitely something that we wish we could avoid.
When trying to build a successful online community, things like this are so important to take into perspective. Do you want to create a welcoming and loving community where people can feel a part oh something whole. On top of that they want to feel it so they can be themselves without judgment. Communication can be so tricky online sometimes because it can be hard to judge tone and intention behind one’s words because you can’t see a person space. Having guidelines in place that’s strictly prohibited harmful or mean language can help provide a space for people to be more open.
These are all key factors keep in mind I’m trying to create a successful online community. Along those lines, you also have to think of the audience of the group. The more specific, the better. One really good example is Facebook groups that people join that include their interests. People who love cats wouldn’t join in all dog Facebook group and vice versa.
By creating an environment that I talked about earlier and honing in on the target audience, creating a successful online community is pretty straightforward from that point on. Having an administrator to the groups that keeps things in track, but also allowing people who are part of the group to have their own say and be able to communicate with each other freely creates the community that is wanted.

UNC Alum, Currenlty in UF Masters Program