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What is Social Relationship

Encyclopedia of Multimedia Technology and Networking, Second Edition
Involves dynamics of social interactions, bounded and regulated by social and cultural norms, between two or more people, with each having a social position and performing a social role
Published in Chapter:
Building Social Relationships in a Virtual Community of Gamers
Shafiz Affendi Mohd Yusof (Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-014-1.ch024
The explosive growth of the Internet has enabled virtual communities to engage in social activities such as meeting people, developing friendships and relationships, sharing experiences, telling personal stories, or just listening to jokes. Such online activities are developed across time and space with people from different walks of life, age groups, and cultural backgrounds. A few scholars have clearly defined virtual community as a social entity where people relate to one another by the use of a specific technology (Jones, 1995; Rheingold, 1993; Schuler, 1996) like computer-mediated communication (CMC) technologies to foster social relationships (Wood & Smith, 2001). It is further supported by Stolterman, Agren, and Croon (1999) who refers to virtual community as a new social “life form” surfacing from the Internet and CMC. There are several types of virtual community such as the virtual community of relationship, the virtual community of place, the virtual community of memory, the virtual community of fantasy, the virtual community of mind/interest, and the virtual community of transaction (Bellah, 1985; Hagel & Armstrong, 1997; Kowch & Schwier, 1997). These types of virtual community all share a common concept, which is the existence of a group of people who are facilitated with various forms of CMCs. With the heightened use of CMCs, people begin to transit and replicate the same sense of belonging through meaningful relationships by creating a new form of social identity and social presence. As emphasized by Hiltz and Wellman (1997), people can come from many parts of the world to form “close-knit” relationships in a virtual community. The purpose of this article is to understand how online gamers as a virtual community build social relationships through their participation in online games. Empirically, several aspects in the context of virtual community are still not fully understood, such as: (1) What types of rules, norms, and values are grounded in virtual community? (2) How do people institutionalize their members in a virtual community? and (3) Why do they create social relationships in virtual environment? The identified gap thus explains why studies have produced inconsistent findings on the impacts of online game play (Williams, 2003), in which many studies in the past have only looked at aggression and addiction. A more detailed understanding of the social context of in-game interactions would help to improve our understanding of the impact of online games on players and vice versa. Therefore, this article will present a case study of a renowned online game, Ever Quest (EQ), with the aim of understanding how players establish and develop social relationships. In specific, the Institutional Theory was applied to examine the social relationships among the players, and a hermeneutic- interpretive method was used to analyze the data in order to address the following general research question, “How is the social world of EQ constituted in terms of building social relationships?”
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Learning Processes during Online Discussions
The relationship between two or more participants during an online discussion, as indicated by their use of social cues.
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Discussion Processes in Online Forums
The relationship between two or more participants during an online discussion, as indicated by their use of social cues.
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