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What is the Worldwide Online Community?

The Worldwide Online Community is simply a group of people from a wide variety of countries and continents who come together to share their skills, experience, and/or love for a subject. Online communities are a fairly new faction and are not fully understood, their importance is neglected and may not reach their full potential until the next generation incorporates them more and more. It wasn't until the '90s that the Internet or World Wide Web really became a part of the culture, but in less then 20 years its impact has changed society from top to bottom. 

In order to really delve into the importance of the worldwide online community, one must first define what it is. There are hundreds of different definitions of what an online community is, but this statement is generally accepted throughout these definitions.

Worldwide online communities are groups of people who join together on the Internet with a common interest.

Perhaps, the most popular example is that of Facebook, a place where almost 10% of the world's population has joined to stay in contact with friends, family, and colleagues and share events or life events. But Facebook is far from the only online community... Forums and message boards for movies, bands, TV shows, and entirely random subjects have been popular for years now. In the case of deviantART, the main subject is art. A subject that millions if not billions of people love as seen by the hundreds if not thousands of art museums and openings that are available daily across the world.

So why do you need an online community? After all don't we all have friends who enjoy similar topics like art? Sure you do, but you are forgetting something: Let's say you live in the most populated country and have made every connection possible there... Then what happens to the contacts you could make in the other 195 countries on Earth? There's a lot of people living there as well. Combined, almost certainly more than your country has. With a worldwide online community in today's world people can mutually work on projects, paid work, etc. anywhere in the world.

Benefits of Text-Only Contact

One of the amazing aspects of an online community is that prejudices don't drive the community. Race, religion, age, sex, etc. are not even considered when first corresponding with another member. Now, picture a society where there are no prejudices, no matter what color your skin is, what your sex is, whatever your sexual orientation is, it doesn't matter. Well, let me now welcome you to that society.

Online, there is only as much as you give away. If you wish to name yourself Jane Doe, then your name is Jane Doe until you reveal otherwise. In this way you have the ability to create friendships under anonymity that can then last if you later choose to reveal details about yourself. 

Computer Talk by wapythe one with the family by Saswat777

This is not to say that there aren't any arguments online, of course there are! History has shown us that arguments are human nature, and online communities are driven forward by the diversity of opinions just as much as communities in real life are. However, it allows a member to create a friendship that may not have been started otherwise. Then, if a user decides to share information about themselves that relationship will likely last. For example, when I first came onto deviantART I was 13. I made connections and friends with people 10, 20, 30, 40 years older then me. But, that didn't matter! Because I acted maturely, they could not tell if I was 13 or 33. In fact, in January of 2011 I posted a poll asking what people thought my age was. At the time I was 15. Of the 307 answers I got, only 15 of them, or 4.9% correctly aged me as "15 or Under". In fact, almost 40% of the responses I got aged me at 6-10 years older then I was ("21-25"). Six to ten years is a significant jump at that age... 

Under this same idea, amateurs and professionals have a unique opportunity to work together in a worldwide community. Let's say a professional photographer is contacted by an amateur photographer. In an online setting that professional may not be able to immediately know if they are being contacted by an amateur or professional like them. Without that information, they may be able to start a friendship or relationship that benefits both in the long run that would never have been started otherwise.

The Alias

The alias is a powerful tool. It has been used by many to hurt others but can also be used very safely. Many people are concerned with online bullying. Now it is quite an issue on websites like Facebook where you openly declare who you are, where you are, your age, all your photos, etc. but, with an alias it is not as open. 'Online safety 101' says don't share your address, phone number, full name, and any other revealing information about yourself you don't want to be public knowledge. This is absolutely true, and unless you have a reason to share it with a particular person, don't. Instead this information can be hidden under your alias.
    (Please, never share numbers like your credit cards, bank accounts, etc.)

Using the example from above, if your username was Jane Doe, then no one knows your full name, (perhaps your name is Jane or Janet, but it also could be Georgia or Bob for all another person knows), you never shared your address anywhere that it is not safe to (for example, you share it as a shipping address but not publicly on your profile), and you never shared any other revealing information (location, age, etc.). Chances are, you're pretty safe. Yeah you will meet the occasional online "bully" but most communities expect that and implement a blocking feature that will take care of them.
The Unknown by armeneFaceless Composition by larafairie

If they continue to contact you, most online communities have a staff team (or group of moderators) and can handle the situation. The point, however, is that the majority of the people out there are friendly, helpful, loving, caring, and like you, a part of this community to love, grow and develop. That is something most people cannot find anywhere else, even in their own neighborhoods. 
FAQ #96: Can I block people from interacting with me?

A Central Message

There are many communities that try to span a large area such as deviantART. dA covers "Art" as an entirety from literature to photography, film, traditional artwork, and much more. Because of that, it is important to connect with a sub-section of that community. In other words, it is hopeless to try to connect with 22 million members on deviantART, instead connect with a small group of writers or photographers. Communities will naturally create these sub-sections of, for example, digital artists or painters, and within these sub-sections the communities will grow. 

Projects and contests are a major bonus of this. Many sites will host large and small contests that are aimed at a few of these sub-sections. Sometimes these can be sponsored (a photography contest from Sigma for example), or they may be run by a small group of users inside the community. However, without being part of these sub-sections one might not have the contacts or resources to learn of the contest, enter and potentially win. The method of critique and comments are also very helpful. Everyone can learn from one and another no matter how "pro" someone is, they are still learning, for that reason having an online reach is absolutely an amazing tool for anyone. 

community meeting by macsimcwolf pack by Yair-Leibovich

I recently directed, edited and filmed a short documentary, The Symbol of Peace. The film is based at home but stretches across many countries. In creating this film I created a private contest on deviantART. I asked for submissions containing peace signs and promised to showcase the winners in the film. As a result I collected nearly 100 contest entries and used a small number of them in the final film. In doing so, I managed to stretch the film worldwide instead of just having it be at home. I had entries everywhere from across the United States to London, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Mexico, Austria, Italy, as well as many other countries.

Why deviantART isn't my Homepage

Now with all of these benefits, one might ask why an online community isn't my homepage? Or why it isn't everyone's homepage? Well quite simply put, most people's friends and family don't get it. There is a gap in understanding why someone would put energy into creating a "second life" on the Internet. It is very hard to explain to a friend in a short amount of time, so many people's homepages are other locations. Overall, I would say that the next step for online communities needs to be outreach. There are now over 7 billion humans on Earth. Yet most recognized communities are in the low millions of members... Within this future, hopefully more people will be able to expand their minds view and see the importance of the worldwide online community. 

Online communities are a huge part of our future. They cannot be neglected, and must be a part of the lives of teenagers, students, and adults.

Questions to Think About!

  • Do you think that online communities have a huge future? If not what do you think will take their place?
  • Have you experienced the benefits of the online communities? Tell us about your experiences!
  • What stories do you have thanks to online communities? Have they changed your view of the world?
  • What do you believe needs to change in online communities in order for them to become "normal"? 
  • How can members of a community bring about change that will change communities forever?

Article Details:

Article written by TimberClipse
Header by admx
Skin by bradleysays
Edited by SanguineEpitaph

Artwork By:

wapy ("Computer Talk")
armene ("The Unknown")
larafairie ("Faceless Composition")
Yair-Leibovich ("Wolf Pack")
macsimc ("Community Meeting")
Saswat777 ("The One With The Family")

deviantART Links

Site Tour | Help & FAQ | Etiquette | Privacy Policy

The importance of a worldwide online community. An article written by `TimberClipse
Add a Comment:
Mirz123 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012
This piece has been been showcased in :spotlight-left: Spotlight Features :spotlight-right: - Volume 10.

If you enjoy this article, please considering adding it to your favorites so that others can find these amazing artists.</sub
Lightning-Powered Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2012  Professional General Artist
Brilliant. The only thing I don't necessary agree with is the sentence: "In the case of deviantART, the main subject is art."

I'm disagreeing somewhat because while that may have been true in DA's early days, it certainly isn't true now because in my opinion (based on what I've seen after 4 yrs of membership here) POPULARITY is the main subject of this site.
JamminJo Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Added to #DevNews posting on June 15, 2012.
RockstarVanity Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2012  Professional Photographer
This is an absolutely astounding article :clap:
TimberClipse Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012  Professional Filmographer
:hug: Thanks!
TeaPhotography Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
Absolutely great article here!
Thank you for writing it and putting it together...
Lots went into it, and it shows.
ebonypen Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I like the article, you make a lot of good points. There is definitely a benefit to online communities, and trends show that there is a great potential for them. I still hang around deviantART because I think it's very well constructed and it attracts the very best sorts of people :)
As long as "physical" communities aren't neglected, I think online communities can do great things as a whole and for individuals. Unfortunately, I think it's very easy to get too hung up in online communities and lose touch with those who you might otherwise be able to physically interact with. They say that the internet and cell phones and whatnot "connect" the world, but I think it's only redrawing who we connect with. I'm seeing more and more people who are busy on their phones or laptops everywhere they go, whether it be school, on the train, even at concerts and stuff where they should be enjoying the performers. The online world is beginning to disconnect people from the world immediately around them. Obviously there is an innumerable number of reasons why people are on their phones and laptops everywhere they go, so it's unfair to make generalizations, but regardless, don't you think that people's increasing time spent online is becoming the decay of local community? Again, I hate making such general statements because I know there are always so many exceptions to them, but it's just a thought.
I have had many positive experiences online though. Like you said, it's great to be able to make friends with people you would never otherwise be able to encounter, whether it's those whose art I enjoy, those who share my interests and faith, or just plain good people :D I actually met someone in one of my favorite groups, #BandGeeks, who as it happens lives somewhat near me, so we met in person and we're now best friends, both online and off. That wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for the online community.

One question though; why did you entitle the article "the neglected importance..."? How are online communities considered neglected?
pixiepot Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2012  Student Artist
This has been featured here. Have a good day. :)
TimberClipse Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Nice article! And thanks for including me :heart:
pixiepot Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2012  Student Artist
Thank you. :tighthug: My pleasure, I really love this article of yours. :huggle:
pixiepot Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012  Student Artist
First off, I'd like to start by saying that this is a tremendously well written article and it looks very professional. Online communities, deviantART above all, are something I hold close to my heart. I think that the reason deviantART is something that I'm so involved with is the fact that I have been involved with a lot of online communities over the years but I feel as if I truly found my place at deviantART, as a person and as an artist/writer. Whether or not others in my real life understand it, I can not determine.

Do you think that online communities have a huge future? If not what do you think will take their place?
I think that online communities have a huge future. For me, I would never, under any circumstance, made as many diverse friends if it weren't for online communities. I think that they will evolve over time however I don't see a need for them to evolve so much so that the true essence of the online community is lost.

Have you experienced the benefits of the online communities? Tell us about your experiences!
I've experienced many benefits within online communities. In particular, deviantART. Without deviantART my skill as an artist/coder/writer may never have developed. Without deviantART I wouldn't have had the amount of support and drive I have now to continue and progress with my passion in art/writing. And, I'll pull this card yet again, without deviantART, I'd never have such a variety of wonderful, supportive friends.

What stories do you have thanks to online communities? Have they changed your view of the world?
Well, I don't know about changing my view of the world but they've certainly educated me to a far higher level than if I hadn't been involved with these online communities.
One thing I'm particularly proud of is the fact that the devious community is so supportive and opinionated. Kony 2012, for example. I knew about this and spread the word to my friends long before people at school found out. The year tens came in and held a lesson about Kony for us as part of their course work, needless to say, I already knew the ins and outs of it weeks before hand. Thanks to who? deviantART and other online communities.
Troll Face, the artist who created this internet sensation. Where, may I ask, does he post his work (including Troll Face)? deviantART. It's only know my friends at school are aware of troll face and other online sensations whereas thanks to the likes of deviantART, I've known months and in some cases years beforehand.

What do you believe needs to change in online communities in order for them to become "normal"?
Nothing needs to be changed. People outside online communities just have to understand there importance.

How can members of a community bring about change that will change communities forever?
Standing as one. Helping others to understand the true importance.

To conclude, I couldn't live without deviantART (and, dare I say, other communities alike - though not so much).
RisingWolve Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Do you think that online communities have a huge future? If not what do you think will take their place?

I think so; to me, they are very important while to others not. They're just a subculture that most don't experience, either because they don't understand or know or don't want to. But, some subcultures take leaps forward in popularity, and I think online communities will be seen like that in the next generation. (aka some of my generation and the next; all my real life friends pretty much have no idea of online communities)

Have you experienced the benefits of the online communities? Tell us about your experiences!
What stories do you have thanks to online communities? Have they changed your view of the world?

Yes, definitely! I've made plenty of acquaintances, some of which have blossomed into friendships that will last years and some already have. I have yet to have had a friendship that deteriorated if I told the other something controversial about myself, which definitely boosts my and anyone's self-esteem. I have learnt countless things about other places from others, which have definitely changed my view of the world.

What do you believe needs to change in online communities in order for them to become "normal"?

In my opinion, absolutely nothing. They will never be considered 'normal'; people ask me all the time, "Why are you drawing that?" and I'll answer, "It's for someone online/contest/etc. online." they'll turn away and just say "Oh." My parents and most every adult in my life doesn't understand that not all online friends are 70 year old perverts or rapists or convicts from jail. Actually, I've personally learnt that most people are honest about themselves online, even more than those in real life. It's awesome. :)

How can members of a community bring about change that will change communities forever?

When members get their heads together to contribute to a project or film, magical things happen. I think that if a video was put together of members doing something like, wearing a nametag that had their aliases or saying, "Hi, my name is *alias*" and having some sort of meaning behind it, sorta like an ad about Kony 2012, if this video was shown to doubtful people like the adults around me, for example, they might believe in the power of online communities.
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I think it goes without saying that interaction with other human beings is a necessity :D This is a new medium, but it should never shadow real interaction. I have great realtionships with the friends I've made here on deviantART, I even reunited with a friend that I had not seen or heard from for over 10 YEARS when I happened to run across her page. I plan on meeting these people one day whether it involves a devmeet or just taking a vacation to their hometowns :)
endless-spirit Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012   Traditional Artist
I sometimes think about the years in the future when many accounts will be dead because the owner, artists, members are dead. Online graveyards? I don`t know.
ixDenial Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012   Digital Artist
Well, Youtube and other sites started deleting inactive accounts lately, So probably once you die and your account hasn't been visited for over 2 years or something, They'll delete it. :shrug: sounds abit sad..
TTFAA Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I've never stopped to think about this before! How interesting...
ToddNTheShiningSword Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It's weird, because no one really has, but that's a sign of how young and youth-oriented the internet still is. It was practically- although not quite literally, made by young people, for young people. Young people kinda were the main people to really get into it first, and since everyone was young... well, no one thought about what would happen when an account holder died, because death was so far away. Or it seemed. But one day they'll fix this, because some day the internet savvy youth will be senior citizens... but then the internet would be a super different place by then anyway... Who knows?
Pixie-Lips Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
- Do you think that online communities have a huge future? If not, what do you think will take their place?

I think they have a future, but I also think that they will evolve over time, and perhaps integrate with offline communities in a way that is currently impossible.

- Have you experienced the benefits of the online communities? Tell us about your experiences!

Overall, I've experienced many benefits of online communities, mainly making friends with people I otherwise would never have met, being introduced to various things (e.g. cultures, mediums, experiences) that don't exactly prevail in the area I come from, and learning many things, particularly when it comes to art. However, online communities also have a darker edge where it can be quite lonely in a way that I don't feel in the offline world, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, particularly if you're a lurker.

- What stories do you have thanks to online communities? Have they changed your view of the world?

I don't feel that online communities have necessarily changed my view of the world; they just expanded it. That said, I don't think I would have learnt a lot of things if it weren't for online communities, such as deviantART, Twitter etc.

- What do you believe needs to change in online communities in order for them to become "normal"?

I think they are already pretty "normal" if you compare the world to 10-20 years ago. It's just a different viewpoint.

- How can members of a community bring about change that will change communities forever?

I think it depends on the type of change, as each situation is different. The generic answer would include innovation, strategy, and a common purpose, but this assumes that all change is a good thing.
Sonicblur2-0 Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012  Student General Artist
This is so true and and many of these things happened to me. I've made friends who are in other countries. One of my friends is 40 yeard older than me while another is 2 years yonger. I've been able to contact my favorite comic artists and show them my work all thanks to the beautiful internet.
Fotacien Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't have a facebook... Now, I know that when some read something like this they get a little freaked, how can one not have a facebook? You need a facebook. Now I did read most of your article, but i kinda lost interest after reading the bits of its benefits. You mentioned that there are no prejudices in these online communities, now I should respectively disagree with that. There ARE prejudices on these sites, ESPECIALLY facebook. It does matter if your a guy or a girl, it matters if your good looking, and in some more superficial or even disappointing supremacist mentalities, race does matter. Now apart from my old-school rambling about how online communities do tend to hurt normal and necessary human interaction, i completely agree that there are sites that have a FEW benefits. This site (dA) gives people the opportunity to show their art, in mass if needed, it allows anime artists, photographers, craftsmen and writers alike (amongst others) to portray their hard work and see others' hard work. But, this site I'm afraid is becoming a tad superficial, I have had to stop watching some deviants due to the fact that they post a dozen pictures every hour (no joke) of very redundant and tacky pictures of themselves. Online communities are a very small necessity. Go out to a plaza, to a mall, strike up conversations with people, that's what I do, and I've met tons of fantastic people thanks to it. Yeah, granted, I might not ever see them again, but its much better than talking to someone online, and yet never quite know who they are.
RisingWolve Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey, just mentioning: they're not only talking about Facebook. FB is pretty 'special' when it comes to prejudice... social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., where people know who you are, what you are and what you look like, prejudice is just as bad as the real life. Communities like dA and forums and stuff, where nothing is revealed unless you reveal it yourself, are pretty good. I know that some deviants here are a little bit superficial and post pictures all the time, but I've never had to unwatch any deviant on my list because of it. You say that the internet hurts normal human communication; I agree that it does, but you say "Go out to a plaza, to a mall,..." Well, let me tell you - I live in a narrow-minded, small village of 5000 people. There are no malls, there are no plazas, and even if there were, everybody knows everybody else and what they did last night! Online communities make me feel accepted and anonymity makes me feel so much less insecure and more confident to say my opinions out loud. You say that "its much better than talking to someone online, and yet never quite know who they are." I've known my online friend for 2 years, and we know literally everything about each other. Sometimes I wonder if we'll ever run out of things to say, but we're good to each other. It's a risk you take if you want to make friends online, and you just have to know what is safe and what is not. If you think online communities are not for you, don't join them then. :/ Just wanted to voice my opinion on the subject.
Fotacien Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I lived in a 3000 people community for 15 years, still never ran out of new people to meet, I seem to find a little bit of a hole in that, but please rest assured im not attacking your comment. Then again, Im very sociable, I dont care about anything and I always try new things. But that could just be me. This type of subject is very narrow minded and no one is here to convince anyone else, so it goes to show that i will maintain my composure and you yours, but yeah i totally understand your point of view, lets just say that its not something i completely agree with, still, to each their own ma friend....
YukiH Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012
Ideally all of that would work if people didn't disclose more physical/personal things from the start... And from my experience after being on forums for years, when you get closer to males specifically (even if it's just a brief acquaintanceship) they really want pictures if they have a hint that you're female. :/ Eventually they get upset over it and they feel like you're messing with their mind or using them or whatever. I feel like the longer a person spends an online community integrating themselves and making friends along the way the more pressure it is for them to remove that barrier which makes the internet something that was once feared and frowned upon: anonymity (more or less in the 90s this was the case). Not dismissing any aspect of this journal, but it's something I've learned about being anon, the only way I feel like it's truly effective is if a person doesn't really let others get so far as writing to them in a public sphere within that community.

Anyway, to answer part of one of your questions, I think real online communities have been lost to more social sites. I'm not too far from your age, but I remember when I had started going on the internet in middle school and even in high school people associated the internet with being a loser until facebook came. Now it seems cool to look at memes, and add random strangers onto facebook profiles while these things are far from new to more 'senior' users. I believe since the creation of social networking sites like fb and ms, those who are not really into communities/forums fail to realize what it's all about. It's surprisingly hard to explain to people the concept of an internet friendship that's not based on desperation, but rather due to similarities in thinking or interests if they've never been in the loop. Making friends online is inevitable in online communities, gaining respect and admiration seems to stem these friendships.

PS: I see this site more as a social networking site rather than a community.
suyoko Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012
Good explanation about what is the Worldwide Online Community?
NoranFikri Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Student General Artist
Wonderful Article! :clap: :heart:
Really inspirational.
neurotype Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is true and great, but quite frankly you need to interact with reality. Both for your brain chemistry and because the apathy of this generation is appalling.
JZLobo Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
"I used to not care. I used to follow orders and hope that everything would work out for me. But after all that's happened, you know what I've learned? It's not about hating the guy on the other side because someone told you to. I mean, you should hate someone because they're an asshole, or pervert, or snob, or they're lazy or arrogant or an idiot or know-it-all. Those are reasons to dislike somebody. You don't hate a person because someone told you to. You have to learn to despise people on a personal level. Not because they're red, or because they're blue, but because you KNOW them. And you see them every single day. And you can't stand them, because they're a complete and total f-ing douchebag." -Private Church
cloneddragon Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
looks like a good read, will have to come back to this when i have time to read. my final for a class last year was on online community's so it will be interesting to see how you've written this.
namenotrequired Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Student Interface Designer
Do you think that online communities have a huge future? If not what do you think will take their place?
Oh, yes. They have a lot of people to win over still - facebook may have over a tenth of earths population on it, there's a difference between having a facebook account to talk to your existing friends and collegues, and actually joining an online community.

Have you experienced the benefits of the online communities? Tell us about your experiences!
My first experiences were on music forums. I liked them, but I'm not sure if they liked me back :lol: When I found dA, I got hooked. I've given other communities a try since then - twitter, facebook groups, other music forums and sites, hackernews, and other art sites. But none is quite as amazing as dA.

What stories do you have thanks to online communities? Have they changed your view of the world?
It's hard to tell. They've been a major part of my life through my teen life and beyond. It's impossible to separate what they have taught me and how my development as a teenager would have been had I not been part of them. What I do know is that it has been very influential and that I have met most of my friends and

What do you believe needs to change in online communities in order for them to become "normal"?
Nothing. People need to learn about them and to learn becoming part of them.

How can members of a community bring about change that will change communities forever?
By coming together and standing for something as one. What they can change? Within reason, and if they really want to and have the right people, just about anything.
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012
Music forums are awesome (at least the ones I was in) :iconsuperw00tplz:
namenotrequired Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012  Student Interface Designer
These were too. :D
Zaleho Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's a nice article, but it might be a bit too pro-internet community for me? I keep having numerous issues with people online who are so addicted to the internet that they have nothing else and nothing to do in the real world, so they become stupidly dependent on those they know online for company and support, to the point of being so needy that they're demanding I come online all the time. What's worse is that these people often find like-minded people who tell them it's "okay" to always be online and using internet communities for all their social needs, so they lack desire to improve their lives and thus have lower desire to break their habits than if they didn't have the internet. Yeah, the internet community is a positive one for many, but I keep meeting more and more of these people who see no need to have any connections in the real world since they have the internet. I recently left an RP group here because it annoyed me a bit how many people spend 10+ hours a day online so I couldn't keep up with the happenings of the others' characters in the group since I actually have things to do during the day that require me to be away from my computer. How are they supposed to enjoy life like that?! It really confuses me and sometimes makes me think I'm out of place when I'm involved with internet communities. I've been able to meet some awesome people via DA but I've met more of the obsessive "internet addicts" than what I think is probably healthy for society both online and off. There's a whole world out there ripe for exploring and it's amazing to me how many people I meet online lack an interest in things like travel, outdoors and nature. They wanna stay inside their house all day, looking at lolcats or spamming plz accounts in chatrooms. There's probably nothing we can do about people like that but the internet isn't all puppies and rainbows; it can hurt people, too, even if they aren't realizing at all that it's hurting them. It's sad when people believe they can't live without... a website. The internet is a luxury and not a need.
YukiH Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012
Those people need help. I've had a similar situation, but I wasn't begged to come online (I guess because I was almost always online). You need to keep your sanity, let them go because they're not doing you any favors. :\ I had someone online who was often unhappy with their lives, they ultimately projected their frustrations onto me whilst playing hypocrite. I had to take a break and realize that I cannot be by their side if being around them makes me more upset about the things that are going on in my life and to know that when good things happen they will be upset at me for it, I had to drop them. I don't want that to happen to you (or anyone else, really).

I haven't been able to integrate myself on this site since I've been here. I'm not sure, but wouldn't most of those active users be in their teens?
theubbergeek2 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012
Well, the internet may start to be something less of a luxe and more of a necessity for augmented trade and all.
anim3admir3r Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree. I can see the future now. Everyone's hooked to some kind of electronic device plugged into our forehead. We also have tubes plugged into our bodies that keeps us fed and takes care of our bathroom needs so we won't have to log off even for a second. I like dA, but it's nice to actually see and hear people in person. As well as experience things in person instead of read about someone else's experience.
I-is-smart Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
ever see walle? :lol:
anim3admir3r Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes I did. And now that you reminded me of that, that could also be a scenario. Provided someone was unhooked from their computer long enough to realize Earth is turning into a dump. And then deciding to make a ship to people on until robots they made clean up the mess.

Although if someone was unhooked long enough they probably would have just made robots to clean up before their mess became a problem. :shrug:
ssceles Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sites like (I'm also part of three other similar sites) have me in awe - they're full of petitions signed by people who want to do the right thing, even if it doesn't immediately effect them. "Tell so and so that you feel this is wrong!" is a common theme. And you know what? It works! Large corporations have backed down and given in. If they ignore a petition with 500,000 signatures, the person who made the petition just goes back to the people who signed it through e-mail and tells them that the company ignored them - maybe they didn't think these were real people. Suddenly, if even a third of those people then stand up and send a personal letter or phone call, the corporation is flooded with messages from unhappy people. It's peer pressure, and I know I was taught that was wrong growing up - but it certainly is effective. The internet rallies people of common interests together and there is immense power in numbers.

The best part about being online is that I am not my country. I'm not always proud of my government's actions, and I hate being judged based on where I was raised. I can't really help it that I was born here! I am happily just a timezone with people until I feel like revealing more specifically where I am. I've made friends in ten different countries - the international future of the world is looking up!

No longer do we have to rely on what our televisions say to us. We can get news from it's source if we so choose, pulled away from biased opinions so that we may form our own. I love it!

And when a disaster happens? An earthquake or tsunami? There are many easy ways I can donate to help and it's just as simple as any other online transaction. We're more aware of the world than ever - not just the world immediately around us, but the world as a whole! <3
shine4evr Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Very well written. :heart:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have been part of several online communities ever since I started using the internet but none has ever captured me in a way that dA does. Deviantart is indeed a second home for me. The main reason is not the fact that it grants me countless possibilities to improve and share my art but its great community. And what makes the community here so special is the fact that even the staff members are an actual part of it. On sites like facebook you don't notice any connection, it feels like the staff there doesn't care at all what their users think but here on dA the staff communicates with us, listens to our suggestions and site-specific complaints and actually does something about it if there's enough demand.
It's kinda like a really really big family. :giggle:
NikitaDarkstar Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I think there will always be two different types of online communities. First you have the facebook type which is mainly used to stay in touch with friends and family you've met face to face. Or people who know you where you don't want to be anonymous. And they are a huge part of our lives already, some can help you get a job, while acting stupid on others can actually get you fired, so they're very much acknowledged already.

Then you have the anonymous kind. Like DeviantART, forums and other communities. The kind that fully expects you to not share everything, and is centered around a specific topic. These are the overlooked ones as you said. But are they important? I'd most certainly say so. Not only can they get you in touch with people you'd never know about and you'll probably never be able to meet face to face, but they can get you in touch with the kind of people you do want to meet that turned out to be fairly close by.
For example I was in a small, private book club community when I was younger. It was a pretty great forum with a closed-nit community of people of all ages. Every once in a while we'd have real-life forum meetups for those who wanted to see each other. I met one of my closest friends through that place. I would have never known she existed if it wasn't for that community.
Or another one. About 8 years ago the forum admin was running one of his usual mass-chats on msn (he'd invite anyone who was online if he had their contact info and encourage others to do the same.), I started to talk to this US guy and we got a long great. Added him to my msn list and we started chatting and became good friends. A few years ago we became a bit more than just friends... a year and a half ago I moved from my native Sweden to the US and we got married.

So do I believe in online communities as the next natural step for meeting people? Heck yes, now if we could just make international travel a bit less tricky and expensive and we'd be in great shape! :)
SonicWolvelina99 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Do you think that online communities have a huge future? If not what do you think will take their place?

Well yes, because everyone now is relying on technology to get around. Unless something like SOPA/PIPA/ACTA/whatitsface comes up AGAIN.

Have you experienced the benefits of the online communities? Tell us about your experiences!

Thanks to the online communities, I had a much better grasp of the world and I was able to meet all the nice people here. ^^

What stories do you have thanks to online communities? Have they changed your view of the world?

I can't think of any but of course they changed the view of the world. Now I actually have better knowledge of what is going on around the world.

What do you believe needs to change in online communities in order for them to become "normal"?

I don't know about you but let me tell you this: nothing is "normal". Nothing. Everything is different one way or another.

How can members of a community bring about change that will change communities forever?

It'd be awesome if it was a bit safer but someone, in this world, isn't going to be safe. What I'm trying to say is that a change won't be able to affect everyone.

Well, change will happen sooner or later. I don't know what though because even a small thing is relevant to people thousands of miles away.
stuck-in-suburbia Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
dA's my homepage. Just saying. I also have my volunteer position listed on my facebook.
Dragynn275 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I am going to favorite this in the hopes that just a few more people will read it at least. This article is amazing, and wonderfully true.
chelseaMay Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Wonderful article! :clap:

I can't think of any better story to share than this recent one. A couple of days ago, I saw an online video that depicted a terrible crime. It turned out that the person that made the video was wanted worldwide for murder & due to his huge online presence, there were scores of online communities popping up all over the web, devoted to catching this man. Of course, before he killed a human, he had killed animals, and there was a facebook group dedicated to bringing him to justice since 2010!

He was apprehended yesterday & a huge part that led to his arrest was the amazing people in these online communities, devoting countless hours to investigating and hunting for clues he'd left behind online. If it wasn't for online communities, he might still be free. The best part wasn't just the amazing team effort, & realisation that we, as humans can group together to fight for what is right, but the celebrating... even though we were all, in reality, just people sitting at our computers, last night, we may as well have all been in the same room, partying! :)
lintu47 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Great article :clap:
xthumbtakx Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012
beautifully written. :thumbsup:
otohime0394 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Wonderful article! :happybounce:
It took me three years of being here to finally work out what deviantART is really about - three years I spent exchanging pictures and comments with offline friends and a few friendly deviants who would voice their opinions of my art from time to time. I never grasped the full scale and potential of this online community, but I can safely say that I'm so glad I finally did!
People around me, like my parents, don't understand the effort and time I put into deviantART. But to me it's invaluable in that I can discuss and share with people from all around the world - different cultures and views - and such a rich diversity means that there's always something of interest going on. I think online communities are unusual in that in some ways, you don't always get a sense that the things you see on your screen come from real people. But as you learn more about people and bond, it's all the more rewarding. :la:
miontre Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Great article! :)
mitazu08 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Great job, Zev and the team :clap: I enjoy reading this.
I'm a photographer but I don't always stick to that community . I found great friends from other fields as well, such as emotes or even traditional. dA community and feedbacks are such things that we couldn't find on facebook or anywhere else :D
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