Participation

Smith et al. state that technology “extends and reframes how communities organise and express boundaries and relationships, which changes the dynamics of participation, peripherality, and legitimacy” (2009, p. 11). The digital community of ‘Blogilates’ and its members, the ‘POPsters’, embody the notion of converging communities within a digital age. Cassey Ho has created a community through a number of social media platforms by allowing her followers to not only interact with herself, but also fellow POPsters who share the same interests, goals, and fitness regimes.

Many followers interact by posting messages of encouragement or questions about health and fitness on various social media platforms, whilst others visually share their progression or involvement as a POPster through videos/photos of their Blogilates workouts. There are a few ‘members’ of the Blogilates community, however, known as ‘trolls’, who enjoy disruptively participating in community discussions and posts for their own source of negative enjoyment. As noted by Bishop, the term trolling “has essentially gone from meaning provoking others for mutual enjoyment to meaning abusing others for only one’s own enjoyment” (2014, p. 8). Online trolling is present amongst the Blogilates community and has the potential to negatively affect the encouraging atmosphere created by legitimate POPsters.

Eleanor Lawes

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Mediation of Communication:

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The three major forms of mediation of communication present within the Blogilates community is electronic mediation, digital mediation and interpersonal mediation:

Electronic mediation: POPsters are able to participate and communicate with each other through the use of modern day devices such as web cameras, computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets etc.

Digital mediation: POPsters learn about Cassey and Blogilates, and subsequently are able to form and interact as a community, through the aids of various social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, as well as Cassey’s own website and blog, ‘Blogilates’

Interpersonal mediation: POPsters are able to physically come together as a community through ‘real life’, in-person classes that are mediated through and run by Cassey Ho herself

Lievrouw states that the “division of the communication discipline according to whether people communicate face-to-face or via a technological medium has shaped the field’s development from the outset” (2011, p. 303), an interesting analysis when acknowledging the Blogilates digital community and their success in achieving both digital and non-digital forms of communal engagement. It is clear that by having a number of forms of communicative mediation, a digital community is able to thrive as a result of their ability to interact both interpersonally and virtually.

Eleanor Lawes

Community Management and Moderation:

Blogilates is an open digital community and can be joined, followed or viewed by anyone who is interested. As face and founder of Blogilates and the POPster community, Cassey Ho manages the content, videos and media posts circulated throughout her numerous social media pages. However, the tangible social interactions and relationships made through the digital community itself are a result of the supportive and encouraging camaraderie shown by fellow fitness enthusiasts. Blogilates is popular because of its openness and lack of rules and regulations; anyone is able to become a POPster as long as they have the right attitude, goals, and respect for other members.

Eleanor Lawes