Online communities: Contribution to Wikipedia

Instead of contributing information to the Wikipedia page for media fandom, I chose a broader topic and opted to contribute to the Wikipedia page for online communities.

On this particular webpage about online communities, I found information about identity formation and potential problems with such formation. To this section of the webpage, I added information about self-presentation and the potential, negative implications it can have on the construction of one’s individual identity.

More specifically, I added the following text:

The construction of an individual’s identity within an online community requires self-presentation. Self-presentation is the act of “writing the self into being,” in which a person’s identity is formed by what that person says, does, or shows. This also poses a potential problem as such self-representation is open for interpretation as well as misinterpretation. While an individual’s online identity can be entirely constructed with a few of his/her own sentences, perceptions of this identity can be entirely misguided and incorrect.

I felt that this was a significant contribution to this particular section of the webpage as it’s important to understand that an individual’s indentity is constructed by others as well as by oneself, and one’s identity is not always perceived as was intended by its creator.

Through collective intelligence, like that which can be seen on Wikipedia, internet users can be seen as playing a part in participatory culture (knowledge-based). I have in this very post, in fact, identified myself as being involved in this culture as I expressed one of its underlying assumptions: “Members believe their contributions matter and feel some degree of social connection with one another” (Jenkins, et al., 2005). Knowledge is a commons rather than a property, and (through one’s ability to edit/add to information present on its webpages) Wikipedia demonstrates support in this ideal.


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