Agora City : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
ROMANIAN VIRTUAL COMMUNITIES
The final goal of this article being rather descriptive, I consider that the theoretical notions should not employ a very detailed debate. It is enough to underline the fact that, in principal, we designate a "social group" as a system of individuals connected by interpersonal relations, the system itself being identified by the parts its component beings play. In the same way, it is also necessary to remind that we denominate as a "social institution" the social group whose members share the same specific purpose and therefore act accordingly, with their specific means and techniques, in order to achieve it.
Naturally, the configuration of such groups is a process the investigator intuits, most times, from the combination of several casual relations and he implicitly admits as positive their truth-value. Starting from here, any indication showing that a group is forming in our days becomes a precious one. That is also what explains the foregoing interest of the foreign scientists for such tendencies on the Internet. The research made by the social sciences, - anthropologic, folkloric and even philosophical - have already sent important tentacles on the Web, and reached up to definitions and peculiar forms, even if sometimes disputable.
The virtual communities defined as "social aggregations generated on the Net when an enough number of people conduct, for enough time, those public discussions, implying enough human feelings so that to form nets of personal relations in cyberspace". (Reingold, H. (1993). The virtual community).
But this is normal to happen when we are dealing with a communication environment radically different from what we are familiar with. The adjustment made in order to understand it, the adaptation of the theoretical apparatus are not to be done effortlessly. A quite concluding example is the report of an American folklorist, in JAF/1996, who has noticed the expanding sincerity, close to unconsciousness, of his informers from a discussion list compared with the general atmosphere from a research casual on-site.
Such an event may seem out of sight to us, especially when considering the circumstances that we, most of the interested ones, are dealing with - and I am referring to researchers or budgetary professors ; we are not even far, but isolated from this reality called Web. Certainly, there are various solutions to sponsorship the research on such a location; actually, it is rather possible that the eventual sponsors may consider the notion of "Internet" a lot more familiar that the one, lets say, of "folkloric syncretism" and this from economic reasons as well. Only that it is highly unlikely for a scientist to think out a plan for the supply of funds on the research of an object completely unknown to him.
In such circumstances, I take advantage of my hybrid situation to observe, as often as I am given the public chance, the existence and the importance of the Romanian social groupings of this kind. How may we define the virtual Romanian communities? Due to the fact that nor the citizenship, nor the birth certificate, nor any other conventional methods seem to be of much help, we shall define the Romanian communities as "the virtual communities using the Romanian language".
Why? Because all the others are, usually, unspecific the children from IRC, who speak English, could tell you quite the same (of course, you have to take my word for that; yet, I would like to receive a disapproval);
the communities of a specific language (the English might be considered as lingua franca of the Net) are making use of this language for identification as well and many times its peculiarities are a topic of discussion themselves, even of vehement arguments (see the problem of the diacritics, for instance);
because the way of using a language determines specific parts in such an environment and we must underline that, inhere, the graphical linguistic sign has a very special signification, as it is the unique instrumentality of the meaning (at the origins, at least);
finally, because adopting a language implicitly imposes conclusive cultural elements for that certain culture, elements supposed to determine the dynamic of the interpersonal relations defining the group.
And it seems not be enough for this mean of communication we are talking about to be a new one - in forms and consequences - but it keeps revealing itself in shades more and more different and more difficult to trace. Lets see some of them, presented from the technical point of view:
What might be our points of concern when doing a research about these Romanian communities? O provisory list of interests could be drawn as follows:
and so on.
One may easily notice how vast the provocation is. Lets see at what extent the scientific Romanian world will answer it and, most of all, how soon this will be accomplished.