The Three C's: Community, Communication and Commerce

So what is a community? People talk about their "neighbourhood community", a social networking website classifies its users as their "online community" and Londoners refer to "the Chinese community" when taking about ChinaTown. But what are the ties linking these individuals? In other words, do the people in these geographical locations or members of a certain internet site feel something in common, a "togetherness"?

 

The concept of what a community actually is, has been and continues to be heavily debated in the academic world. Wikipedia states that close to 100 definitions already existed in the 1950s! It is a word often used in daily life but seldom deconstructed, and possibly rarely understood. 

 

The post-modernists among you may be entirely sceptical and explain how there is nothing, least of all tangible that really unites these "members" or "neighbours". You may think it is a dated concept which harks back to some mythical time when people borrowed sugar off the person living accross the hall and allowed their kids to play safely in the street as they were known by everyone else on the block. 

 

The romantics among you may believe that there was once a time of true community (the sugar borrowers) and that the countless "social groups" we see today in the form of Bebo, Digg and Facebook are purely functional impersonal and symbolic interactions devoid of humanity. 

 

The internet enthusiasts among you are most likely fierce advocates of this novel style of communication. Quite often it is not the context of the communication but the style which conveys meaning. A sentence may be sent via electronic text and be more expressive than a sentence said in person but completely expressionless (they don't call them 'emoticons' for nothing!). Here is an ad hoc observation: community and communication have the same Latin root - "together" and "to take charge of". Even an amateur etymologist like myself can see that the shared roots are an indicator that they are inextricably linked. Leaving the definitional problematising to one side and to put it simply, we at ExtZy believe a community is a network of people, sharing a similar idendity of interest around a certain thing, and of course communicating ideas regarding that interest.

 

The reasons behind these musings? ExtZy is about to launch itself into the world of online social networking with a difference. The communityZ (as they will probably be called) will be coupled with the awesome market prediction game that ExtZy already is. Combining the power of Wikimedia and Joomla! the Game Lord has created a network hub with ExtZy as the connecting nodal point. In this case it is a virtual community, as those lucky enough to be a member are connected via a computer, interacting over the Internet. Nonetheless, ExtZy community combines the best of the virtual, as not only is it a social networking facility but is also a source of entertainment and exercises the old gray matter. As a result, ExtZy will embody the powerful triad of community, communication and commerce!