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Applying CMC Theoreis to Assess Virtual Community
Unformatted Document Text:  CMC Theories and Virtual Community 14 information and the resulting benefits that weak ties would bring. Online community, consisting of numerous weak ties by nature, is apt to foster greater degree of diversity than real-life community. In terms of social characteristics and geographical location, communal ties in online community are weak and remote. As for intimacy, however, one must consider the frequency and level of participation of online community members. As mentioned earlier, members are voluntarily drawn together according to their interests and needs. Therefore, their level of attention and participation may be higher than members in real- life communities, which leads to more interaction and exchange among members and consequently creates strong ties among members. Due to the lack of face-to-face interaction, it is expected to the strength of communal ties among members of online community is not as strong as those among members in real-life community. Nevertheless, their ties can be maintained stronger than what “weak ties” defines as members actively participate in community activities. Reciprocity It is general norm of community that whatever is given should be repaid, if only to ensure that more is available when needed (Wellman & Gulia, 1999). Community members in a well-established community are supportive in exchange of helps and social resources with an expectation of reciprocity from somewhere in their networks in the community. It may seems difficult to motivate community members to offer support in an online community where there is no face-to-face contacts and ties among members are loose thus social pressure for being supportive is low. Nonetheless, some researchers found that online relationship can be reciprocal and supportive (Constant, Sproull, & Kiesler, 1996). According to Constant, Sproull, & Kiesler (1996)

Authors: Chung, Siyoung.
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CMC Theories and Virtual Community
14
information and the resulting benefits that weak ties would bring. Online community,
consisting of numerous weak ties by nature, is apt to foster greater degree of diversity
than real-life community.
In terms of social characteristics and geographical location, communal ties in
online community are weak and remote. As for intimacy, however, one must consider
the frequency and level of participation of online community members. As mentioned
earlier, members are voluntarily drawn together according to their interests and needs.
Therefore, their level of attention and participation may be higher than members in real-
life communities, which leads to more interaction and exchange among members and
consequently creates strong ties among members. Due to the lack of face-to-face
interaction, it is expected to the strength of communal ties among members of online
community is not as strong as those among members in real-life community.
Nevertheless, their ties can be maintained stronger than what “weak ties” defines as
members actively participate in community activities.
Reciprocity
It is general norm of community that whatever is given should be repaid, if only
to ensure that more is available when needed (Wellman & Gulia, 1999). Community
members in a well-established community are supportive in exchange of helps and
social resources with an expectation of reciprocity from somewhere in their networks in
the community. It may seems difficult to motivate community members to offer support
in an online community where there is no face-to-face contacts and ties among members
are loose thus social pressure for being supportive is low. Nonetheless, some
researchers found that online relationship can be reciprocal and supportive
(Constant, Sproull, & Kiesler, 1996). According to Constant, Sproull, & Kiesler (1996)


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