Consumption In Virtual Worlds And Online Communities Exercise

Consumption In Virtual Worlds And Online Communities Exercise

Description:
For this lab, you will explore how emerging social media applications have facilitated the formation and growth of subcultures of consumption and brand communities. This assignment is designed to illuminate how consumption brings people together into communities and the role that consumption plays in the creation and maintenance of societies.

Phase 1: ONLINE OBSERVATION
You have your choice of completing this assignment in two different types of online consumption cultures: either Brand Community Web Forums OR Virtual Worlds.

Brand Community Web Forums
If you choose to do your lab in brand community web forums, you are required to study two different types of sites: a pro-brand community and an anti-brand community. You will use non-participant observation, i.e. you will observe, but not interact with your chosen brand communities.

Observation Site #1: Pro-Brand Community
For your first site, please find an online community which is pro-brand, i.e. in which supporters or fans of a brand interact with each other. You can find numerous brand fan sites dedicated to car brands, technology brands, clothing brands, etc. Examples include  (Porsche brand community),  (Corvette brand community),  (Star Trek brand community),  (Lost brand community),  (Red Sox brand community), or  (Nike brand community). Go to the web forum area of the site and spend some time reading the conversations that people on the site are having with one another. Your job is to observe, but not interact with the participants in the web forum. Notice what they are talking about and more importantly, how they are interacting with each other. You will have to read through many conversations (check the archives) to get a sense of their social relationships.

Observation Site #2: Anti-Brand Community
For your second site, please find an online community which is anti-brand, i.e. in which people who are opposed to a brand interact with each other.

Examples include
www.ihatestarbucks.com or www.homedepotsucks.com. Go to the web forum area of the site and spend some time reading the conversations that people on the site are having with one another. Again, your job is to observe, but not interact with the participants on the web forum. Notice what they are talking about and, more importantly, how they are interacting with each other. You will have to read through many conversations (check the archives) to get a sense of their social relationships.

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