Other Methods of Communicating on the Internet
* Lesson 4 - OTHER METHODS OF COMMUNICATING ON THE INTERNET
4.1 - WHAT ARE ONLINE COMMUNITIES?  What Are Online
Online communities are formed by groups of computer users who have common
interests and purpose to communicate with each other over the Internet.
Some Web sites provide tools that allow you to exchange ideas and
information in an open interactive forum. You can participate and interact
with other users who are online. Some Web sites allow you to add your
responses or views to an ongoing conversation when other users are not
online. Some online communities provide a facility for sending e-mail
messages about the details of discussions.
There are different types of online communities, some of which are listed
in the following table. Scroll down to read each description.
Newsgroups are online discussion forums dedicated to specific topics.
There are newsgroups available for all kinds of topics such as computers,
literature, social issues, current affairs, and more. These newsgroups are
called Usenet.Newsgroups are like bulletin boards. They include articles on
different areas of a topic, other people's views on that topic, and
announcements of various events or job openings. If you have questions for
which you need answers, you can post them to the newsgroup. People will
read your questions and reply with their answers or opinions.You can search
for a newsgroup related to your topic of interest and subscribe to it.
Then, similar to sending e-mail messages, you can log on to the newsgroup
and post your messages. The only difference is that everyone who logs on to
the newsgroup can read your messages.All discussions related to a
particular topic are grouped and linked by a single thread of discussion.
So, over a period of time, you can continue a discussion on a particular
subject with other people.Newsgroups can be subjected to inflammatory
messaging. Posting such inflammatory messages is called flaming.
Chat groups or rooms are Web sites that you can use to communicate
instantly with other people who have logged on to the same Web site. When
you chat with someone, it means that you type a line of text and then press
the ENTER key. The words that you typed appear on the screens of the other
participants, who can then respond in kind. You can even use audio and
video media while chatting so that you can talk and see the person you are
chatting with. You can also transfer files to other participants.There are
many chat rooms available that cater to different topic areas. Depending on
your topic of interest, you can sign in to a chat room. You need to sign in
to the chat room so that other people in the chat room can know that you
are online.Today, you can also use mobile devices such as cell phones,
personal digital assistants (PDAs), and laptops for chatting online.Chat
rooms are not often closely monitored. Therefore, there can be incidents of
inappropriate chat, use of explicit language, and harassment. Online chat
groups can also be a target for online predators and a channel for identity
Blogs are online diaries or journals. You can post articles, daily
events, or your thoughts on any subject.Blogs are like personal diaries,
where you can restrict access to people who can view and comment on your
postings. You can either post your articles on specific Web sites that
allow you to post blogs, or you can create your own Web site. An example of
online blog site is Windows Live Spaces that is available on the MSN Web
site.Similar to other online communities, blogs are often subjected to
offensive language, graphic content, flaming, and spam.
Social networking Web sites
A social networking Web site facilitates building online social groups
for people who share common interests. On such Web sites, you must create
an account and a profile. People who use the Web site can view your profile
and you can visit their profiles. Similar to instant messaging, you can add
contacts or friends, share files, and hold discussions on a social
networking Web site. For example, Windows Live Spaces on the MSN Web site
is a social networking Web site.You can use some social networking Web
sites only for business purposes. Such Web sites help you share ideas, post
job openings, contact clients, and promote your products or services.On
some social networking Web sites, anyone can easily access personal
information provided by the users of the Web site. Malicious users can
misuse the information available on such Web sites.
[Social networking Web sites]
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