Title

Social Participation and the Building of Community in a Virtual Context

Start Time

15-10-2009 2:00 PM

End Time

15-10-2009 3:30 PM

Abstract

Communities are typically built around a commonly shared experience, geographic location and/or occupation on a need driven basis. Participants in the community tend to share some common set of values and beliefs, resources and the doing of an occupation. With the rapidly evolving nature of technology and quick integration into daily activities, opportunities to build community have transcended geographical and physical boundaries. This pilot study involved the examination of 25 videos and their associated comments section on YouTube under the topic of Lyme Disease experience. The videos were randomly chosen from a playlist of 74 available on this topic at the time of data collection. An ethnographic analysis of this micro-culture revealed how a group of participants, from various parts of the country and at different levels of disability, formed a supportive community. Participants consisted mostly of those who suffer from Lyme Disease or had a loved one who suffers from it. Formation of this cyber space community appears to meet some of the needs for social contact, empathy and compassion especially for the home bound participants. They are able to connect with people outside their physically accessible range to share information on various treatments, coping methods and on the performance of daily occupations. While YouTube, as a source of data, provides an added perspective into the lived experience of Lyme disease and impact on daily occupations, it also informs us on how daily occupations are becoming embedded in a virtual context. This presentation will conclude with a discussion of YouTube and other cyber space venues as a source of data for understanding human occupation and its shifting contexts.

References

Fetterman, D.M. (1998). Ethnography (2nd Ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Lange, P. G. (2007). Publicly private and privately public: Social networking on YouTube. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 18. Access Article

Pierce, D.E. (2003). Occupation by Design: Building Therapeutic Power. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis & Company.

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Oct 15th, 2:00 PM Oct 15th, 3:30 PM

Social Participation and the Building of Community in a Virtual Context

Communities are typically built around a commonly shared experience, geographic location and/or occupation on a need driven basis. Participants in the community tend to share some common set of values and beliefs, resources and the doing of an occupation. With the rapidly evolving nature of technology and quick integration into daily activities, opportunities to build community have transcended geographical and physical boundaries. This pilot study involved the examination of 25 videos and their associated comments section on YouTube under the topic of Lyme Disease experience. The videos were randomly chosen from a playlist of 74 available on this topic at the time of data collection. An ethnographic analysis of this micro-culture revealed how a group of participants, from various parts of the country and at different levels of disability, formed a supportive community. Participants consisted mostly of those who suffer from Lyme Disease or had a loved one who suffers from it. Formation of this cyber space community appears to meet some of the needs for social contact, empathy and compassion especially for the home bound participants. They are able to connect with people outside their physically accessible range to share information on various treatments, coping methods and on the performance of daily occupations. While YouTube, as a source of data, provides an added perspective into the lived experience of Lyme disease and impact on daily occupations, it also informs us on how daily occupations are becoming embedded in a virtual context. This presentation will conclude with a discussion of YouTube and other cyber space venues as a source of data for understanding human occupation and its shifting contexts.