Monday, December 13, 2010

Practicum 8: Adios

Well, as I reach my 15th hour or so of participating on this beer forum, I am sorry to say that I do not find myself upset with my experience coming to a close. Reflecting on my interactions on the site, I started off very optimistic and excited to interact with people who are experienced home-brewers. I looked forward to the collective intelligence aspect of such an extensive and established home brewing forum. I think the two main reasons this forum isn't more interactive are as follows: the age range of the users, and the culture surrounding home brewing. To break each down, the age of most of the users on this site is well over 30 on the young side. I think that the use of the internet was different for that generation and simply BELONGING to a beer forum makes them feel as if they are a part of a community, yet we have learned that communication has the root word communicate which involves interaction and sharing of information for the common good. That was honestly my biggest issue with the forum, lack of understanding what communication in an online domain entails. The second reason I believe there was a general lack of communication is anchored in the culture around home brewing. This activity involves autonomy, self-reliance. I think that (and I am generalizing here to the men on my particular forum, not everyone) most of the men believe that sharing recipes and information isn't macho-enough or something along those lines. Most of them spend time boasting about how many times a week/month/year they brew beer and not actually how to help each other do so. I am making an educated guess that they feel brewing is a self-contained activity that one should have to figure out on his or her own, yet being a part of a community where you can say you discuss beer may make them feel united.

So, overall, I am glad that I got to experience this project. Hearing the presentations opened my eyes up to a few new internet-based worlds I had no idea existed. It was interesting to become a member of an online community besides facebook as well. Going onto the internet for a few new purposes was a nice change of pace. It was a good experience and I will bid my farewell to the members of the beer forum this evening after writing my paper.

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