social networking is Virtual Communities

Virtual Communities


This article is to discourse the claim that new signifiers of computing machine mediated societal networking sites have created practical communities. Author analysed two specific illustrations – and to lucubrate treatment. The article will include the analysis of the impression and the value of practical community and followed by the characteristics of societal networking site by take a close expression into two celebrated and successful societal networking sites – and The article will acquire decision by comparing the values and characteristics between SNS and practical community to place the relationship between them. The privateness issue besides been mentioned in the article.


Updated information from – a information web site calculate the web traffic prosodies besides count the ranking of popular web site in the whole universe shows that the has achieved the 2nd popular ranking website worldwide followed In extra, many similar web sites such as Windowss,,, etc. acquire the higher ranking on the list. It indicates the success of societal networking sites and those societal web sites has been a important portion of our today ‘s practical community. The purpose of the essay is to discourse the claim of new signifiers of computing machine mediated societal networking sites have created practical communities by analysis two celebrated successful societal networking sites, and

A practical community is a group of people that chiefly interact via communicating media such as newssheets, telephone, electronic mail, cyberspace societal web service or instant messages instead than face to face, for societal, professional, educational or other intents. There are many types of practical community are varies on cyberspace universe. They may include applications such as instant message, electronic mail, chat room every bit good as internet site such as web logs, societal networking sites, exposure and picture sharing sites, and practical realit environments or on-line game environments such as Second Life. ( Boneva, Quinn, Kraut, Kiesler, & A ; Shklovski, 2006 ; Gross, 2004 ) Most of those web sites and maps are taking advantage the freshly engineering – Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 and Virtual Community

We are in the thick of a digital revolution that is giving manner to a “new information environment” ( Bimber, 2003 ) . The most of import engineering which may excite the development of practical community is Web 2.0, As late described by Pew, The coming of Web 2.0 – the ability of people to utilize a scope of information and communicating engineering as a platform to show themselves on-line and take part in the parks of internet – is frequently heralded as the following stage of the information society. ( Pew, 2007, p.ii ) It is the cardinal engineering to make a muti-user environment which is the Centre to the thought of internet. Although web 1.0 can keep some of on-line community in early phase like chew the fating room, they merely focused on conveying people together to hold a talk or confab while web 2.0 encourage more synergistic between group of people with muti-functional tools. Web 2.0 has been defined as ‘a group of engineerings which have become profoundly associated with the term: web logs, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds, etc. , which facilitate a more socially connected Web where everyone is able to add to and redact the information infinite ‘ ( Anderson, 2007 ) . Christy M.K. Cheung and Matthew K.O. Lee ( 2009 ) stated that the proliferation of web 2.0 engineerings made people easier to acquire involved in information exchange, and it made cyberspace more synergistic, customized, societal and media intensive. The handiness of create and publish online content is one of the most of import characteristic of Web 2.0. It offers societal infinites where people can portion common involvements and exchange information as they want. The characteristic made on-line environment create a practical community.

By take a position into traditional community we can happen there are some common characteristics between existent and practical community. In biological footings, a community is a group of interacting organisms sharing an environment, cyberspace offer this common infinite for cyberspace user. In sociology, the construct of community has caused infinite argument, and sociologists are yet to make understanding on a definition of the term. Traditionally a “ community ” has been defined as a group of interacting people populating in a common location. Daniel Memmi argued, “though sage varies slightly, it appears that in the most usual sense, a community refers to a peculiar sort of societal group, defined by strong personal links” the dance community in Brunel University, the member of the community has been assemble together by their common involvements and construct strong personal nexus with each other by participate in the community activities. Sometimes the state of affairss are the same with some online community like some fandom web log or online community. Members portion their common involvements with strong personal relationships. The existent communities wo n’t be big since it is difficult for member to cognize each other and build relationship with each other good in a immense community. Usually traditional community required face to confront communicating within members as they can portion their information together and keep relationship with others. Virtual Community is new type of community which keeps the chief characteristics of traditional community but some features are different.

1. Location & A ; clip flexibleness

There is no demand for practical community to piece their members to come to a physical common location or topographic point at same period of clip together. ‘The World Wilde Web ‘ is the topographic point for everyone in every practical community. Peoples from all over the universe can fall in in any of practical community and take part in the activities anytime they want. This characteristic is benefit from the feature of web society. Manuel Castells ( 1996: 445 ) introduces the construct of ‘timeless clip ‘ which is a celebrated construct about clip & A ; infinite in the modern web society. He argued the web society enterprises to make a ‘forever existence ‘ in which the bounds of clip are pushed further and further back. Take as an illustration, the web site has cooperated with many cell phone shaper companies to implant the map of upload picture to from the nomadic phone straight, which means people can take a picture cartridge holder by the nomadic phone camera and print on instantly from anywhere they are.

2. Scales

Normally, successfully practical communities have immense figure of members such as, the statistics from official web site ( 2010 ) shows that they have more than 300million active users and 50 % of active users log on to in any given twenty-four hours. And another statistic shows average user has 130 friends on the site. This characteristic is different from traditional community since the size of realistic community ca n’t be such immense. Peoples in traditional community need to construct relationship with other members and besides necessitate to maintain in touch with them. It is impossible to accomplish that with big figure of people while it seems non compulsory for the member in some of practical community.

3. Strong personal nexus or Impersonal nexus

As I mentioned before, traditional practical community is based on strong personal nexus. However some types of practical communities are based on more functional nexus like or Memmi ( 2006 ) suggests that practical community is frequently big, and show insouciant, impersonal relationships. Peoples join in those communities for seeking some sort of value and net income. Member of can purchase or sell their merchandise on this platform and member of can acquire the latest intelligence and update information about what they may interested in. Those types of communities are no difference with our existent modern society. The motives fall ining those practical communities may be there are more convenience, more valuable and more democracy on this platform. Most significantly, they are traveling to interchange their information on cyberspace. Knowledge and information are, in general, a valuable currency or societal resource in practical communities ( Binik, Cantor, Ochs, & A ; Meana, 1997 ; Hiltz & A ; Wellman, 1997 ; Rheingold, 1993a ; Sproull & A ; Faraj, 1997 ) . hypertext transfer protocol: // is a practical community which encourage their member to assist other member in IT hole job. Member of Fixya can either inquire inquiry about IT job or assist other member to work out their job. Member of that web site does n’t even cognize who help and back up you, that is those nexuss are non strong personal nexus, The other manner unit of ammunition, practical community like and on-line game are based on strong personal nexus and different like Memmi ‘s thought about impersonal nature about practical community. As the high ranking of those societal networking sites become more and more popular, SNS has became one of most of import portion in practical community that is personal strong relationship maintains in immense portion of today ‘s practical community. U.M. Dholakia, R.P. Bagozzi and L.K. Pearo ( 2004: 224 ) stated 5 types of value offering by practical community in the tabular array of ‘the values of utilizing a practical community:

Purposive value

Merely like article have mentioned above, information exchange, by information exchange online, people who has no information or cognition in specific country can acquire the cognition they need from the practical community besides they can portion their information with other member to carry through this practical community.


Peoples who join in the practical community may obtain entree to societal resources and ease the attainment of their ain hereafter end ; in add-on, they may organize clearly define and lucubrate on their ain penchant based on interaction with others. ( U.M. Dholakia, R.P. Bagozzi and L.K. Pearo 2004: 224 )

Entertainment value

Facilitates like on-line game such as MMORPG or practical universe game like 2nd life go a platform and offer opportunity for people to play and loosen uping in it. Besides many SNS web sites have the same map with on-line game. ‘it is the value draw from merriment and relaxation through playing otherwise interacting with others ‘ ( U.M. Dholakia, R.P. Bagozzi and L.K. Pearo 2004: 224 )

Social sweetening

This value is supported by most societal networking sites. Most of them let user and member to make a profile for themselves such as their involvements, favourite book, and alumnus university or whether you like to dating with aliens etc. The personal relevancy information may assist members deriving credence and blessing of other members and enhanced their web societal position in those practical communities.

Maintain interpersonal relationship

We are in the modern Gesellschaft-type society. German sociologists such as To?nnies, Simmel, and Weber have proposed a cardinal differentiation between traditional community ( Gemeinschaft in German ) and modern society ( German Gesellschaft ) . ( Tonnies 1963 ; Weber 1956 ; Simmel 1989 ) in modern Gesellschaft-type society, links are much more impersonal, impermanent and functional ( as is typical in metropolis life ) . In larger modern associations, map and societal functions replace personal dealingss as the footing of societal position. The increasing size of these organisations makes it impossible anyhow to cognize all other group members on a personal footing, and societal operation is guided by regulations, ordinances and contracts, instead than by traditional usage and personal duties. Individual members may good belong to several groups and group individuality is much weaker. ( Daniel Memmi, 2006 ) Under this societal construction, the emerging of solitariness is ineluctable. That ‘s why people are acute on express themselves and maintain contact with their friend on or play a practical online game such as MMORPG. Join in this type of practical communities can supply extra benefits beyond that of information exchange – The feeling of being together and being a member of a group and being portion of a group, disbursement clip together, company, socialization, and networking discoursing the same subject with other people no affair how far the distance between members each other. Most people join in societal networking sites to seek this sort of value support by practical community. The article will analyze today ‘s societal networking sites in following parts.

Social networking sites

Danah M. Boyd and Nicole B. Ellison ( 2007 ) defined societal networking sites as ‘web-based services that allow persons to build a public or semi-public profile within a delimited system ; joint a list of other users with whom they portion a connexion and position and track their list of connexions and those made by others within the system. ‘Mike Thelwall ( 2008 ) argued really similar that societal web web sites are web waiters that allow cyberspace user to register for being a member of that web site. The members can pass on with selected other people while they request being a friend with them by demoing their ain profile, the personal profile normally being created in progress – the same clip registry as a member. Members may redact their profile by uploading new image, video cartridge holders or other relevant information. Merely people who confirm the petition by others for being a friend can derive the right to entree to the full profile of your friend online. Most SNS offering many applications for members such as online instant message, blogging, exposure sharing installation, on-line game apps etc. Theses applications enhanced the interaction with members. Actually members seem to utilizing societal networking site as a tool for keeping old relationship and meet aliens on cyberspace. ( Jennefer Hart, Ridlely, Faaisal Taher, Corina Sas, Alan Dix 2008 ) Many pervious scholarships identified that the construct of ‘friendship ‘ is the key to analyze the societal web sites. Those sites are besides benefited the strength of weak ties

Weak ties and Strong ties

The term of Weak ties raised by M. Ganovetter ( 1973 ) . He suggested that there are two types of relationship between peoples – ‘weak ties and strong ties ‘ . Weak ties are different from strong ties while the weak ties relationship normally being maintained between people from different background. Williams, D. ( 2006 ) mentioned that ‘weaker ties tend to be to those people less like the first individual, they lead to more people in different life state of affairss and therefore to a broader set of information and chances. ‘ Social web sites are promoting people to obtain those weak ties relationship all over the universe. By fall ining the SNS like and, people can do new friend online and they may experience they been connect with the universe and can cognize what go oning outside. Weak ties relationship besides can allow people to cognize different perceptual experiences towards current hot event from different background. When most societal web focused on set uping weak ties relationship between members, Facebook besides put much attending on edifice strong ties relationships. Facebook is encouraging people entree to their offline friend instead than aliens on cyberspace. Those friends may come from the same background such as university schoolmate. Peoples with strong ties relation may be really close friend which may portion of import information. Members of may maintain in touch with their offline friends on cyberspace. The undermentioned portion of the article will analyze the features of societal networking sites by comparison two celebrated SNS – & A ;

Background information about & A ; foremost introduced on Feb 2004 in USA. Jane Lewis and Anne West ( 2009 ) suggested that at the beginning of this web site is for Harvard pupils merely. Several months subsequently, the web site became besides available for pupils in Stanford, Columbia and Yale. Gradually was reached most university in America for pupil to make each other and happen their friend on it. The web site has been introduced in UK in Oct 2005. With the development of, this more traditional university pupil merely on-line community became a societal networking site which opens to everyone who has a valid electronic mail reference in 2006. More than half of users were non-universities pupils any longer in 2007 (, 2007b ) . is besides born in USA. The beginning of was a prima on-line storage and sharing site called until 2002 ( YOLANDA VILLATE 2002 ) . From 2002-2004, existed as a trade name associated with, had made the passage from a practical storage site to a societal networking site. Nowadays has become 5th most visited in USA and 23rd most visited web site in UK. Different from, enhanced the relationship between members which from different background and ne’er met earlier. besides emphasis the fandom issue for members who is the fan of some famous persons. It becomes one of the most grounds for being success in universe broad.

Online and offline friendly relationship

As mentioned before, the construct of friendly relationship is really of import for societal networking sites. It does being considered by both and Pointed out by Mike Thelwall ( 2008 ) societal web friendly relationship has been explored most consistently. In footings of, still as its favourite of pupil based societal web site. In 2007 ‘s research taken by Golder, Wilkinson, and Huberman, they states that most communicating on take topographic point between pupils at same college or used to be in a same college that is their relationship or friendly relationship has already been established. Jennefer Hart, Charlene Ridley, Fasial Taher, Corina Sas, Alan Dix ( 2008 ) argued that there is a peculiar facet of makes it clearly with others societal web sites is the tendency of enhanced offline relationship with online relationship. members are utilizing website to keep relationships with their offline friends. They can besides seek their pervious friend in college even in high school. At that clip, becomes a ‘social hunt engine ‘ . Many people are interested in what happened on their old friend and been entree to them without the barrier of distance. McCartjy and Wright suggested that members being more intensified humor offline relationships instead than run into new people. is different from ; ‘it seems that there is a category divide, at least in the U.S. , between education-oriented users and preponderantly non college-educated MySpace users. ‘ ( Boyd, 2007 ) is chiefly focus on edifice weak ties relationship between members. It can be found evidently when registry a new history. Peoples who want to being a member of need to take what type of relationship they are looking for such as dating, serious relationship or friend etc. in add-on, encourage sets to fall in in the while other members can register as a member of those sets or instrumentalists. It made possible for members who are the fan of those instrumentalists and sets to track their recent state of affairs and activity. Furthermore being a ‘friend ‘ with graven images or famous persons is truly attractive for members of Although is a weak ties friendship societal web sites, the consequence from recent research about friendly relationship in behavior by Thelwall ( 2008 ) shows more and more people brings their offline relationship to like Besides many famous persons has been registered on which enable members of to following their address and activities, that is those SNS has become more and more comprehensive instead than concentrate on one way.

Reason and activities of people use societal web sites

The article has mentioned above that friendship – maintain offline friendly relationship or run into new friend on cyberspace is the cardinal ground people become member of societal web sites. However what they do on a regular basis on these SNS are non yet clearly. Research done by Kaveri Subrahmanyam, Stephanie M. Reich, Natalia Waechter, Guadalupe Espinoza ( 2008 ) gave us some suggestion about that.

The chart above shows that participants answered utilizing societal networking sites chiefly for societal grounds that involved people from their offline lives, the ground of maintaining in touch with friends they do non see frequently ranked first ( 81 % ) followed by because all their friends had histories ( 61 % ) , maintaining in touch with relations and household ( 48 % ) , and doing programs with friends they see frequently ( 35 % ) . As the tendency mentioned above today ‘s Social networking site users in the samples are less often use societal networking sites to look for new friendship online ( 29 % ) . For most university pupils, the more popular societal networking activities involved interacting with other known users instead than looking for new friends, new music, or happening groups to speak about specific issues. ( Kaveri Subrahmanyam, Stephanie M. Reich, Natalia Waechter, Guadalupe Espinoza 2008 )

This chart from the same research shows the activities of SNS member which they did most often on cyberspace. the most common societal networking activities that users did is reading/responding to notes/messages ( 77 % ) followed by reading comments/ stations on their profile page/wall ( 75 % ) , shoping friends ‘pages/profiles/walls ( 66 % ) , and composing remarks on friends ‘pages/posting on other people ‘s walls/tagging exposure ( 54 % ) . They besides put much clip on search new friend, looked for profiles and edited/ updated their profile and position. The consequence besides shows that member is more loath to make or fall in a new group. ( Kaveri Subrahmanyam, Stephanie M. Reich, Natalia Waechter, Guadalupe Espinoza 2008 ) These informations collect from research may assist the article to place in what extent whether societal web sites have created practical community by compare the value of practical community and SNS member behaviour. The two celebrated societal web website – and will be discussed in the undermentioned portion.

Value of practical community and societal web sites

The article discussed above which rose by Christy M.K. Cheung and Matthew K.O. Lee ( 2009 ) they pointed out R.P Bagozzi and U.M. Dholakia ( 2002 ) ‘s work approximately 5 different type of value people may derive from practical community – purposive value, self find, amusement value, societal sweetening, and keeping interpersonal relationship.

Purposive value

Although there is an application for called intelligence provenders which allow members to portion their late to information about themselves. There is no other information members can acquire from the web site or other member merely if other member portion their information with you. offering better purposive value comparison with Members may associate to musician and bands history web site to track their new released information or listen their new music or ticker freshly uploaded music picture cartridge holders and most significantly all the music is free. Celebrities like USA president Obama besides have the web log in Members may entree to his recent proclamation or address on his web log. In some extent those information are purposive value, nevertheless still there are restriction on this type of value comparison with other professional picture or information sharing web site such as

Self-discovery value

Both and enable member to believe more about recent hot issue by sharing their positions on their web log. Peoples may be influenced by other people by their remarks or position towards specific event or issue. The is the most powerful SNS in this field. When people open the, there is even no demand to register, people may seek the subject they interested in and to see how people around universe think about it. The place page of besides offers the hottest keyword for recommendations.

Entertainment value

Jennefer Hart, Chariene Ridley, Faisal Taher, Corina Sas, Alan Dix ( 2008 ) suggests that one of the most of import grounds for both connection and prosecuting with SNS like was the ‘social pleasance ‘ . Social pleasance means that to hold an gratifying experience for utilizing those societal web sites. offers different installations and applications for the members to interact with each other. Despite those common characteristics, the ‘wall ‘ is truly interesting thought which enable member ‘s friend authorship or pulling a image on their wall. In add-on, supports many online mini game apps which can be available for multiplayer like you and your friend. Most of those mini on-line games are rather interesting. portion the same map with in the portion of on-line game apps, furthermore, to construct relationship with instrumentalist and set and watching music picture can be fun for members of It indicates the informations above that about 50 % participants articulation in the societal web sites for have fun and non be board.

Social sweetening

The consequence of the research shows bulk of members of societal web site maintain adding profile and composing remarks. It is a manner for member to showing themselves and besides enhances their societal position. ‘The facet of stand foring oneself to other people in a societal state of affairs was a cardinal characteristic within ‘ ( Jennefer Hart, Chariene Ridley, Faisal Taher, Corina Sas, Alan Dix 2008 ) Sonia Livingston ( 2008 ) suggests similar that people on cyberspace ever devoted attending to the presentation of ego. Creating and networking online content is going a important portion of showing one ‘s individuality, lifestyle and societal dealingss. Social web sites like and allows member to make their ain profile to show themselves and portion them with their friends. besides offers different manner for member to demo them on the phase such as sharing exposure and picture with their friend. The procedure of mark up for being a member of besides proves that the personal profile may heighten their societal position. Despite the basic personal information, besides request information more inside informations such as Occupation, Ethnicity, seeking relationship pick from Dating, Serious Relationships, Friends, Network. In add-on to the information nexus, following the Background & A ; Lifestyle link gives more picks like Marital Status, Sexual Orientation, Religion, Children ( attitudes towards whether to hold a babe ) . Those complicated information may assist better targeting by other people who are seeking to happen a specific type of people with clear purposes. Members can be better identified by those complicated profiles. Jane Lewis and Anne West ( 2009 ) province that societal web sites required members to build profiles. they can hold more to make with single show and the presentation of ego.

Maintain interpersonal relationship

Research information shows that the ground for people join in society networking sites such as is to remain in touch with those friends they ca n’t run into frequently. The ground matches the value of virtual community which indicated that people are more willing to maintain in contact with others people. Nicole B. Ellison, Cliff Lampe, Charles Steinfield ( 2007 ) suggested that our coevals become increased stray because of the new engineering of the yearss. Peoples are acquiring busy and confronting heavy emphasis from the society. It is more and more time-intensive for people to maintain contact with their friend. may offer a chance to do new friends furthermore to happen old friends. It is non merely helps people to reconnect with their old friend but besides recalls the past memories. ( Jennefer Hart, Chariene Ridley, Faisal Taher, Corina SAS, Alan Dix 2008 ) can give members suggestion about their possible friend by seeking the common friend with bing friend. It is surprising to happen out person you know on the suggestion friend list. Updated besides has the similar map with The article has discussed that societal web sites are bridging the relationship between online and offline.

It is non hard to happen out the relationship between societal web sites and practical communities. By analyzing the value and characteristic of them, we may reason that they shared bulk of the value with the similar features. This fact proves that societal web sites create the portion practical community as some of the value SNS can non back up like engineering and information exchange. Those parts of practical community are being created by some web site which hold more impersonal web site like YouTube and Wikipedia.

Privacy issue of societal web sites

Privacy issue has emerged sing the usage of practical community and societal web sites such as as a agency of surveillance and information excavation. It is of import to advert this issue as many instance surveies can turn out the menaces towards user safety concer. Two MIT pupils were able to download over 70,000Facebook profiles from four schools ( MIT, New York University, the University of Oklahoma, and Harvard University ) utilizing an automated shell book, as portion of a research undertaking on Facebook privateness published on December 14, 2005. The possibility of informations excavation remains unfastened, as evidenced in May 2008, when the BBC engineering plan “ Click ” demonstrated that personal inside informations of Facebook users and their friends could be stolen by subjecting malicious applications. We are benefit from the new engineering environment, nevertheless this engineering besides benefit those people who want to roll uping personal information from the community. Acqiosti and Gross ( 2006 ) presented their thought about there is a gulf between pupils ‘ desire to protect privateness and their behaviour. The degree of security may act upon member of SNS whether to set existent information on it such as users expressed greater trust on Facebook instead than


This article has analysed the relationship between practical community and societal web site. First Virtual community has been identified as a new signifier of community based on cyberspace engineering which enables people to shared involvements or ends for which electronic communicating is a primary signifier of interaction. ( Dennis, Pootheri, & A ; Natarajan, 1998 ) It is different from traditional community such as there is no restriction on location, clip and size of practical community, besides some of the practical community based on functional nexus instead than personal nexus. Within site with strong personal nexus, the article discuss the societal networking site, societal networking site is web 2.0 based services which allow member of the sites create their ain profile and communicate with friend they established relationship online. and being selected as two illustrations to analysis the feature of societal web sites. established on strong ties relationship while promote more weak ties relationship, that is fitting new friend on cyberspace from different background. However the recent tendency that more and more members join in society is to keep their offline relationship with their past friend or bing friend. The boundary of whether the relationship is weak ties or strong ties has been blurred. By reexamining the bing research towards ground and motive of people how use societal networking site, the essay find out that most people join in the SNS for reaching their friend they do n’t frequently acquire in touch with. Comparisons between the grounds for participate in SNS and value offered by practical community has been conducted at the last portion of the article. The consequence of comparing suggests the ground and value are really similar between SNS and practical community that is the consequence proves the claim that societal networking sites created the practical community, at least a immense portion of practical community. The other impersonal portion of practical community has been created by more functional web site such as

Future of SNS and Virtual community

New engineering ne’er stop being developed, no 1 knows whether the hereafter community and societal networking site will interpret to a new signifier. Writer predicts that the new engineering will convey people to outside together once more instead than remain in forepart of computing machine. There is a freshly engineering introduced by TED plan which included high definition camera and finger detector. Peoples can convey it outside and capture the information of any objects and hunt it on cyberspace to acquire relevant information about the object. The camera is besides a projector for present the end product of information. They use a illustration of flight ticket, the detector and camera gaining control the ticket and search the information of the ticket ; the projector present the whether the flight has been delay on the land. We have been prisoned by computing machine for decennaries ; hopefully there will be one twenty-four hours we can acquire rid of this prison.


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