In his book Digital Community, Digital Citizen Jason Ohler writes about 4 kinds of virtual spaces, each of which are characterized by different modes of communication:
- Intimate spaces - usually 1 to 1 conversations such as emails, texts and IMs
- Personal spaces - communication among a few people, for example a group email
- Social spaces - group communication such as Nings, wikis and blogs
- Public spaces - one to many communication such as newsletters, web pages and videos
The interesting thing is that these spaces are not mutually exclusive - emails can be forwarded to others, videos can be posted and commented on, people may choose to reply privately to something that is posted publicly and so on.
Young people sometimes have a hard time sorting out what is appropriate in each of their virtual spaces - and understanding that what's posted online in a private space can easily become public. Sometimes it's a hard lesson to learn - that you are responsible for what you say.
Photo Credit: Who's Who by Jessica Polanco, 2008