Social distancing close together: the rhizomatic role of WhatsApp in communities - a proposed research framework
by Johannes C. Cronjé
International Journal of Web Based Communities (IJWBC), Vol. 17, No. 1, 2021

Abstract: As covid-19 hits its peak, people who are not in close physical proximity but who do communicate regularly on social platforms such as WhatsApp groups often claim to feel a sense of closeness to others. This paper will consider the features and functioning for WhatsApp groups in terms of Preece's (2000) characteristics of a virtual community: people, purpose, politics and computer systems, and filter them through Deleuze and Guattari's (1987) six principles of the rhizome: connectedness, heterogeneity, multiplicity, asignifying rupture, cartography and decalcomania to see the relationship between the principles of the rhizome and the sense of closeness in a virtual community. Finally, a six by four matrix is proposed for the analysis of various aspects of virtual communities.

Online publication date: Sun, 07-Feb-2021

The full text of this article is only available to individual subscribers or to users at subscribing institutions.

Existing subscribers:
Go to Inderscience Online Journals to access the Full Text of this article.

Pay per view:
If you are not a subscriber and you just want to read the full contents of this article, buy online access here.

Complimentary Subscribers, Editors or Members of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Web Based Communities (IJWBC):
Login with your Inderscience username and password:

    Username:        Password:         

Forgotten your password?

Want to subscribe?
A subscription gives you complete access to all articles in the current issue, as well as to all articles in the previous three years (where applicable). See our Orders page to subscribe.

If you still need assistance, please email