Publication Details

Mohd Affendi, S. 2008, 'Understanding the virtual community of gamers', in M. Manuela. Cruz-Cunha & G. D.. Putnik (eds), Encyclopedia of Networked and Virtual Organizations, Information Science Reference, Hershey, Pennsyavania. pp. 1714


Virtual community can be defined as “a group of people who may or may not meet one another face-to-face, and who exchange words and ideas through the mediation of computer bulletin boards and networks” (Rheingold, 1993, p.1). With the use of CMC technologies such as listservs, bulletin boards, discussion forums, and chat rooms, the time zone differences become less critical and geographical distance and limitations diminish. A virtual community is primarily a social entity where people relate to one another by the use of a specific technology (Rheingold, 1993; Jones, 1995; Schuler, 1996). As emphasized by Wood & Smith (2001), “people who use CMC technologies and people who study them are increasingly aware that the Internet is fostering relationships not just between two individuals but among many, many more people” (p.109). People can also form a ‘close-knit’ relationship (Hiltz & Wellman, 1997), though they are relatively more disperse as people can come from any parts of the world. The closeness or proximity in virtual community is a result of the social interactions that occur between the members. It is further suggested that the members of a virtual community are more heterogeneous in their characteristics and homogeneous in their attitudes (Hiltz and Wellman, 1997). Stolterman, Agren, and Croon (1999) refers to virtual community as a new social ‘life forms’ surfacing from the Internet and CMC in which individuals and groups seek social support (Walther & Boyd, 1997).



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