Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Week2_3 What is online communities

Task for Week 2 & 3:
Write a post to your blog with your thoughts about the meaning of an online community and its uses. Include a list of identifying features that YOU would look for when assessing an online group or network for features which make it a community.

According the definition from (what is virtual commuinty?, 2006), online community, (also called virtual community) is a community of people sharing common interests, ideas, and feelings over the Internet or other collaborative networks. As we know community is a group of people, maybe variable in size, who come together around a common purpose, goal, or interest. They come to online community for certain reasons. Some come for same goal, or share their interests, exchange information, feeling be cared by others, etc.

Rheingold (2000) gives his definition about online community as a
“social aggregations that emerge from the Internet when enough people carry on public discussions long enough and with sufficient human feeling to form webs of personal relationships in cyberspace.”
Online community is consisted of people coming from different places or countries. There’s no geographic limitation like our traditional communities. Through the Internet technology people can form any community from different countries with different cultural background. They could communicate either synchronously, e.g. live chat online. The communication may occur asynchronously, for example, sending emails, posting on discussion forum, or leaving comments on blogs, etc.

Here are some types of activities people have enjoyed through these online connections.

  • Socialize – People come to online community to meet others, playing around, sharing stories and just taking interest in each other. Such communities may focus using bulletin boards and chat rooms, etc.

  • Information exchange - Online community attract people with same interest to form a group, where members can get more information from others. They share the information and support each other. Groups for people dealing with certain diseases, people studying together, all can form a nucleus for an online community.

  • Group together – Online community offers local communities (geographic) ways to communicate and work together. Community groups such as school groups and others have used online community to provide forums for information and discussion, helping bring groups together and creating closer connection.

  • Work together – Work groups within companies and between companies use online community to build their team, keep in touch and even work on projects together.

Thinking about online community, especially thinking of the course, facilitating online community, maybe the first question we are facing is: how to create an online community? How to motivate members engaged in community activities and discussion? Hope I will find the answers through further study.


Rheingold. (2000). Howard Rheingold's - The Virtual Community. Retrieved Aug. 18, 2008, from

what is virtual commuinty? (2006, Sep. 22). Retrieved Aug. 28, 2008, from,,sid9_gci213295,00.html