“Not Sure if Serious”: Multiliteracies and Communities of Practice on Fark.com

By Kelly M. Keegan.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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While it may seem to an outside observer that internet-based formats for communication, such as comment threads in blogs, are simply long strings of chronologically-organized postings of text and the occasional picture, Fark.com has built a community around this most basic web interaction. Add to this all the peripheral interaction offline at parties and the like, over the phone, IMing, Twitter, Facebook, etc., and there is strong evidence that people on Fark are drawn to the site for several reasons, not the least of which is the potential to belong to a community. People seek that connection (Putnam, 2000), and places like Fark can offer it to them. The general results of this paper conclude that: 1) Fark.com is a community of practice, encompassing literacies that are inherent to Internet interaction as well as site specific interaction (Wenger, 1998); 2) multiliterate behavior is generated specifically from site interaction and utilized by site members as methods of communication, identity construction, and cultural interaction (New London Group, 1996); 3) apprenticeship- style, mediated interactions among more and less knowledgeable site members, using sociocultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978) frames these interactions, with those mediated discourse interactions within the media space of the website itself as realized by the companion concepts of Design outlined by both the New London Group, (1996), and Wenger (1998); 4) members engage in implicit and explicit rules of behavior on the site, framed by Gee’s (2003) notions of literacy and learning in digital contexts, which, in turn, contributes to the development of a site culture as a subsection of Internet culture as a whole.

Keywords: Multiliteracies, New Literacies, Sociocultural Theory, Communities of Practice

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.1-18. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 979.411KB).

Dr. Kelly M. Keegan

Assistant Professor, Ella Cline Shear School of Education, State University of New York College at Geneseo, Geneseo, New York, USA

Kelly Keegan is an Assistant Professor of English Education at SUNY Geneseo. Her interests include online communities of practice, communities centered around newsletters and weblogs, multiliteracies, science fiction and graphic novels as used in secondary classrooms, and online viral videos and memes.