Community networks today: Analysing new media for local social networking and community engagement

Button, Angela J. & Partridge, Helen L. (2008) Community networks today: Analysing new media for local social networking and community engagement. In Stillman, Larry & Johanson, Graeme (Eds.) Communities and Action: Prato CIRN Conference 2007, November 5-7, 2007, Prato, Italy.

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Community networks that incorporate emerging social media features have the potential to encourage civic engagement and create rich, meaningful social interaction within geographical communities. Recently, new forms of neighbourhood websites have emerged, prompting the question: what are "community networks" today? New forms of these sites include high-end commercial websites, developed by local newspaper companies and web entrepreneurs. This is in marked contrast to the relatively simple, non-profit community networks that were created by grassroots community organisations in the late 20th century. Content analysis was performed on twelve diverse neighbourhood websites in order to reveal the similarities and differences between their key social, discursive and technological features. This analysis led to an enriched understanding of the contemporary usage of the term "community networks". The resultant analytical framework provides a useful scaffold for the discussion, comparison and evaluation of community networks. Conscientious analysis of the components of neighbourhood websites, combined with reflection on their correlation with the local communicative ecology, can potentially improve the outcomes of community networking initiatives for not-forprofit organisations, government and industry, across diverse local contexts.

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ID Code: 12414
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: communicative ecology, community informatics, community networks, interaction design, online communities, urban informatics
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Urban Sociology and Community Studies (160810)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > INFORMATION SYSTEMS (080600) > Computer-Human Interaction (080602)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 11 Feb 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2015 22:10

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