Online Communities: People and Processes

Online Communities: People and Processes

Cecilia Loureiro-Koechlin (Oxford University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-860-4.ch011
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


The chapter describes the basic tenets of online communities, their typology and their fundamental elements with a view of informing ways in which people can get to participate online, something that those individuals or organizations dealing with e-governance initiatives also aim at. A key consideration is the importance of socializing as an ingredient that motivates individuals and which can offer them a degree of freedom to discuss government related matters.
Chapter Preview

What Are Online Communities?

Online communities are formed by groups of people who interact through online or internet tools. The name “online community” itself refers to two important aspects of these kinds of groups. The “online” aspect represents the use of networked computers and software tools used for communication. The following definition of online community by Lee et al. (2003) emphasises the use of technology:

a cyberspace supported by computer-based information technology, centered upon communication and interaction of participants to generate member-driven contents, resulting in a relationship being built up (Lee et al., 2003)

The “community” aspect represents people with similar interests, who gather for entertainment, to discuss or ask for help. The second definition of online communities, by Rheingold (1994), focuses on the human and social processes emerging from the participations:

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. (Rheingold, 1994)

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: