a virtual community is defined as an aggregation of individuals or business partners who interact around a shared interest, where the interaction is at least partially supported and/or mediated by technology and guided by some protocols or norms.
The proposed typology of virtual communities includes two first-level categories: Member-initiated and Organization-sponsored (…) At the second level of the typology, virtual communities are categorized based on the general relationship orientation of the community. Relationship orientation refers to the type of relationship fostered among members of the community. Member-initiated communities foster either social or professional relationships among members. Organization-sponsored communities foster relationships both among members (e.g., customers, employees) and between individual members and the sponsoring organization.
The literature suggests that five attributes could be used to characterize virtual communities:
- Purpose : or discourse focus
- Place: as in a bounded location (structural) and a sense of shared values (socio-psychological)_ a virtual space is comprised by both a sense of presence and location
- Platform: determines synchronicity which in turn enables real-time interaction, focuses only in the technical design of interaction
- Population Interaction Structure: 1. VCs as computer supported social networks/ 2. VCs as small groups or networks/ 3. virtual publics versus VCs
- Profit Model: tangible economic value
Porter, C.E., 2004. A Typology of Virtual Communities: A Multi-Disciplinary Foundation for Future Research. In Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10 (1), Article 3.
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