Modes of Experiencing and Expressing Diversity in Online Communities
IN the last twenty years, molecular biology research has made significant inroads into the foundational aspects of DNA and the approximately 30-35’000 genes which govern a human’s interaction with their particular environment. While combinations of these genes play a significant part in the initial configurations of diversity, the expression of diversity is also a conscious activity that transcends the strictly biological. Diversity, difference and repetition are, for Deluze, encounters which transcend the mere ordinary and establish themselves in the experiences of subjective reality which in turn unfolds in the imaginary. For Deluze difference is a given, and extrapolating from this one can ague that diversity is the expression of a range of difference. In relation to online website communities, there is certainly difference and diversity, yet, due to ICT architecture and software, abstractly there is only a limited range of modes of expression. Using a number of South African website communities’ experiences, this paper examines the possibility for expression of difference in a limited environment. This paper argues that the number of modes of expression in a community, prior to permissibility of expression, establishes the number of expressions and thus visible diversity. Implications of such an argument for practitioners, should they wish to encourage diversity, lies in creating more modes of expression.
Keywords: Online Communities, Modes of Expression, Software and Diversity, Deluze and Difference
Research Student, Political Studies Department, University of the Witwatersrand