Wednesday, April 20, 2005
What really makes virtual community to be “community?”
From the Ellis et al.’s article, I am convinced that community is not place-based but relation-based, which tends to become networked these days. According to Rheingold’s definition of virtual community, virtual communities are “social aggregations that emerge from the Net when enough people carry on those public discussions long enough, with sufficient human feeling, to form webs of personal relationships in cyberspace.” Even though information-oriented activities seem to be dominant in cyberspace, virtual communities are not likely to succeed without emotional and peer-group supports. Therefore, communication in virtual community becomes more than exchanging factual information. It brings up identity-building, empathy, and social support among the members. So, it is tempting to conclude that communication makes virtual community to be “community.” However, as they show from a variety of virtual community studies, trust is the most important factor to make people increase willingness to communicate and build sense of community even in the virtual space. In sum, I think that how to build trust in virtual community must be an important topic in the discussion of virtual community.
Posted by umaysay at 10:10 AM