Many believe that our sense of community is dying as the result of our digitized world. In this book, Brooke Dunbar-Treadwell refutes this claim and presents a case that connection is thriving in online spaces as people share stories, practice vulnerability, and build communities. From memes to Reddit to Facebook, Dunbar-Treadwell offers perspectives that combine relevant scholarship with examples from her research, pop culture, and society. She addresses some of the factors that contribute to disconnection like political division and dehumanization, while also painting a picture of a society that desperately desires connection and may not always know how to find it. Ultimately, this book illustrates how community and connection have changed over time, how they are currently alive and well, while offering some important practical advice for how readers can consider their own choices in online spaces to help them find the community that they seek. Scholars of communication, media studies, and political science will find this book of particular interest.
Brooke Dunbar-Treadwell is senior lecturer of English and director of writing at Messiah University.
Chapter 1: Defining Community
Chapter 2: Revolutions, Innovation, and the Evolution of Community
Chapter 3: The Hyper-personal and Connection
Chapter 4: Political Bunkers and Common Enemy Intimacy
Chapter 5: Community as a Place for Authenticity & Belonging
Chapter 6: The Case for Community in Online Spaces and Hope for the Future
About the Author
Dunbar-Treadwell asks readers to choose community in her engaging analysis of online communication. While online spaces have bred division, Dunbar-Treadwell also sees them as sites of connection. She argues that they show hopeful signs that point to the human need to be in community with one another. This text incorporates theories from communication, media, psychology, and sociology to explain how people behave the way they do online, and why there might be hope for community. Dunbar-Treadwell intersperses the book with examples from popular culture and her personal life, and her application of theory is convincing. The chapters move through the historical and theoretical backgrounds of community and communication technology and then into the psychological phenomena that complicate civility on- and offline. Throughout the book examples show how humans can, and do, choose behaviors that build community rather than tear it down. This culminates in a chapter that offers practical advice for how readers, too, can choose community. Recommended. General readers through graduate students.