Encyclopedia of Social Network Analysis and Mining

2014 Edition
| Editors: Reda Alhajj, Jon Rokne

Online Communities

  • Anatoliy Gruzd
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6170-8_81




Application programming interface


Computer-mediated communication


Multiple-user domain/a multiplayer, real-time, virtual world


Sense of community


Online communities (also referred to as virtual communities), like their offline counterparts, can be characterized as groups of people who share similar backgrounds, values, or interests and meet regularly. However, the unique characteristic of an online community is that its members form and maintain their relationships via computer-mediated communication (CMC) technologies such as online discussion boards, web blogs, and social media (For consistency, we will use “online communities” throughout this entry instead of using other synonyms.).

An online community can be exclusively “virtual” when members only meet via the Internet or may include both online and face-to-face interactions. Members can interact with each...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anatoliy Gruzd
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Information Management, Dalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada