Saturday, April 6, 2013

Forums and Community Building

I was intrigued yesterday with a discussion by Katie Groves, who teaches at the University of Minnesota at Duluth, whose talk was titled “A Pure Meeting of the Minds”: Women’s Participation in
Real Simple’s Online No-Obligation Book Club."  She was paired with me at the Minnesota Writers and English Conference in Minneapolis, at Normandale Community College.  She discussed how the participants in that group on Real Simple's site interacted with each other, how one idea flowed into another, how the women (mostly) shared their ideas about the book selections.  

This discussion came just  after our discussion in class of Henry Jenkins' essay on the "Survivor Sucks" site that facilitates the readers sharing information about what they know to predict the next person being kicked off the competion/game/reality tv show.  

Because the show is shown so long after the events occur, it's a kind of detective story for people who love/hate "Survivor" to chase down clues and try to identify the next victim.  I suspect that even a simple thing like the discussion of a book can have a competitive edge to it, people vying for an upper hand on some points about a character or a scene, for example.  A "correct" interpretation.  But I suspect men are more likely to search for the clues about Survivor and women are more likely to share their ideas about whether a character is realistic.  

In the meantime, the forums allow them to build communities and share information and ideas to move toward a common goal.  

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