What is an online community? A new definition based around commitment, connection, reciprocity, interaction, agency, and consequences
by Michael Hammond
International Journal of Web Based Communities (IJWBC), Vol. 13, No. 1, 2017

Abstract: This paper explores the concept of online community. It is divided into three main sections. The first examines the challenge of defining the concepts of community and being online. The second looks at definitions of online community as well as the ways in which the term has been used across a wide range of contexts, covering issues of attachment, emotion, community strength, motivation for participation, and relationship to technology. The third provides a general definition of online community around six key elements: commitment; connection to others; reciprocity; interaction; agency and consequences. The paper sensitises practitioners and researchers to the contested nature of community and provides a definition that is both broad and complex.

Online publication date: Thu, 09-Mar-2017

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