What do social media and its communities actually mean to us? This should be one of the base questions when asking why we use social media in our daily lives.
Online communities are not taken as seriously as they should be taken. In our own real-life communities we tend to join due to the safety and security aspects that they are able to offer. The sheer familiarity of the culture joined by friends and relatives bring in the comfort aspect. The same can be said about online communities and our decision to join them.
We join these big social networks mostly without reading the terms of service agreements and having very limited knowledge of the actual ownership of personal data that they offer. But, we join them and are indifferent of the privacy issues because of the community aspects of the social network. Your friends, family and colleagues are on there, the big corporations use it, why not me, I want to be a part of this!
If Facebook were to release its code in open-source and if we are available to create networks on our own, will we be successful in achieving the extent of communities and their lifespans that the big social networks are getting?
We have to realize the community aspects of social networks and the users that they are made up of to understand the impact of social networks themselves. Email, the individualist's social network, is dying and the collaborative, community means of communication are on the rise, but we must prepare for the next level of communication by understanding its predecessors.