Hockey fans definitely have an online community. But what exactly does it mean to be online? It used to conjure up ideas of being in a separate world, away from existence and in solitude from others. It was a distant place with its own rules and protocols. And of the few that ventured online, barely any would give away their real name or personal information. The real world was where we were physically, while the digital world was out there.
But with more people participating online and the advancement of communication technology, the two worlds, ‘real’ and online, are overlapping. Mobile technology keeps us connected from anywhere, making it harder to leave one and go to the other.
We remain connected online, even with no terminal to access it from. We don’t need to be sitting on a laptop or even a mobile device to be online. Our personal information, comments, contributions and ideas are other there in the digital realm being read, commented on and shared. We don’t just leave a mark on the internet. Our mark is active and in continuous flow even when we’re disconnected.
Having this overlap is beneficial for those who have ideas to share. These ideas are able to be magnified and extended to an audience. Because of social media and the ability to connect to anyone and their ideas/contribution, at anytime, there is a greater opportunity for the extension of these ideas. When like-minded individuals interact in this dynamic environment for ideas, a community is formed online. A major strength of these online communities is the fact that they are always connected regardless of time and space. The marks that are left by participants, whether or not they actually contribute, have the potential to be significant and are in an environment that allows ideas to be constantly exchanged.