Title: Personal networks as a case for online communities: two case studies

Authors: Licia Calvi

Addresses: Centre for Usability Research (CUO), IBBT/K.U. Leuven, Parkstraat 45 Bus 3605, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Abstract: The paper will compare the results from two empirical studies which both deal with the idea of personal social networks and the way they evolve into community ties, with the purpose of identifying the means by which such communities can shift from real-life to online and can be supported by an adequate (online) design. The first study, the Architectures for Mobile Community Content Creation (A4MC³) project, considers the case of city inhabitants who share information about the city they live in; the second one, the Virtual Individual Network (VIN) project, focuses on the individuals who are members of an association and on the way they perform activities (e.g., share information, organise events, create content, etc.) with the other association members. In this sense, both projects focus on the notion of personal networks as communities, i.e., on the concept of networking, and this mainly from the point of view of an individual who is engaged in social relations, and envisage the possibility for such communities to become virtual and benefit from their being online. The emphasis is, therefore, on the social issues that are involved in the creation and development of online communities, mostly of peers, i.e., on the social needs of individuals while networking.

Keywords: online communities; community formation; community maintenance; social issues; personal networks; social networks; individual requirements; web-based communities; virtual communities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2009.021561

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2009 Vol.5 No.1, pp.49 - 65

Published online: 30 Nov 2008 *

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