Online Communities and Social Networking

Online Communities and Social Networking

Abhijit Roy (University of Scranton, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-100-3.ch106
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Technology has enabled communities to move beyond the physical face-to-face contacts to the online realm of the World Wide Web. With the advent of the highways in the 1950s and 1960s, “communities” were created in suburbia. The Internet, on the other hand, has over the last two decades, enabled the creation of a myriad of “online communities” (Green, 2007) that have limitless boundaries across every corner of the globe. This essay will begin by providing a definition of the term “online communities” and then describing several typologies of this phenomenon. The various motivations for joining communities, how marketers create social bonds that enhance social relationships, as well as strategies used by firms in building online communities are also discussed. We conclude by discussing strategies for managing online communities, leveraging them for social networking, researching them, as well as directions for future research.

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