I called Infonortics and it's true that the Virtual Communities conference has been cancelled for this year. It's an event I've been meaning to attend for years and something has always got in the way…
Still it's a bit surprising to read terms like 'old-skool' or 'over the hill' raised in relation to virtual or online communities. It's a terminology game you see… virtual communities = message boards & email groups. Social networking = blogging, buddy lists etc Some argue that the 'new' social networking tools are more user-centric and less discursive creating less room for true discussion. In some cases that's true but instant messaging can create wonderful hyperlinked spaces for intelligent discussion, just as much as web-based boards can also do so.
I think this is just silly jargon. Call human to human interaction online what you want but I figure that Skype, LinkedIn and co are all Online Communities. In fact I'd be more than happy to argue that social networking is a subset of Online Communities – which is why I'm sticking to being an online community consultant.
(via the local e-democracy national project blog )