You may have heard that OurPangea.com is poised to change the world. What you probably haven’t heard is just how it can do so.
As we’ve pointed out, seemingly ad-nauseam in previous posts, current social networks are lacking in some key areas, but mostly in their ability to bring individual users together. OurPangea sees this flaw as a major one and has been built as a solution to this great flaw. The solution rests not far from the theory of the online community.
In his article, Community vs. Social Network, written for Lithium’s Lithosphere, Michael Wu, Ph.D. explained that from the relational and social anthropological perspectives there are two major types of social media: social networks and online communities.
Dr. Wu explained that these two types of networks are quite distinct from one another, but that their main difference lies in the way they tie people together. In a social network, people are tied together by pre-existing interpersonal relationships. These relationships could be family or friend-based, but may also extend to colleagues from school, from the workplace or the neighborhood. He contends that these relationships are built one at a time and that users tend to join social networking sites to maintain old and pre-existing relationships.
Online Communities are different from social networks because they facilitate connections between users based primarily on common interests. Dr. Wu says that these interests can range anywhere from hobbies to passions, lifestyle, geographic location or professional field. While everyone has their own reasons for joining an online community, these users are united by something in common.
Even more interesting is the fact that members of online communities come from a much wider set of backgrounds than members of social networks and, other than the common interest, may have no pre-existing relationship at all. These users can be members of as many communities as they wish and some communities may even overlap.
With social networks, the user has access only to their own social network of pre-existing relationships. They may be able to search for other users to add to their networks, but connections are rarely made between people who have never met. However, online communities are inherently more equipped to bring users together to form new relationships with one another and grow an individual user’s network.
THIS is a game-changing concept. OurPangea is built on the idea that online communities give users the ability to grow their own networks organically by connecting with other users from all walks of life. Users will no longer be limited to the old and familiar, but will instead find whole new worlds at their fingertips. Such online communities can not only bring people together in their online worlds, but can also facilitate real world relationships that users may have never found otherwise.
OurPangea plans to give its users the tools to grow their worlds by building relationships through common interests and thus uniting those users in what they love. Social networks have their place, but online communities have the potential to do far more for even the most reclusive users. By finding other users who share your same interests, the potential for finding new friends, co-workers, classmates and soul-mates increases dramatically.
Is it too much to ask for a network that can help us live richer lives? OurPangea thinks not. Welcome to the OurPangea community.