Do online social newtworks actually exist?

In the Mansfield Journal, Holly Harman Fackler pondered over whether the word "online community" was an oxymoron. In the online space, civility, accountability and consideration don't follow the same rules as real world relationships. It's a group of faceless people congregating in one spot. She also points out that many neighborhoods in our country are the same way.

But an online community can:
-Facilitate a place for people to come together and generate ideas
-Challenge ones thinking and lead to greater self awareness
-Lead to communication
-Lead to understanding

So an online community can be a great place to do all of these things, but a truly successful online community culminates when there is off-line participation in meetings and gatherings. A community goal should always result in both virtual and actual meetings.

So what do you think? Is "online community" an oxymoron?


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