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Applying CMC Theoreis to Assess Virtual Community
Unformatted Document Text:  CMC Theories and Virtual Community 17 may be less tangible and more social and psychological in nature (Wiesenfeld, Raghuram, & Garud, 1998). According to social identity theory, identity is recognized as a critical factor influencing members social and psychological being (Albert & Whetten, 1985; Ashforth & Mael, 1989; Turner, 1984). Social identity theory posits that social identification is a perception of oneness with a group of people and it leads to activities that are congruent with the identity, support for the institutions (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). Turner (1984) proposes “psychological group,” which he defined as “a collection of people who share the same social identification or define themselves in terms of the same social category membership (p. 530).” He argues that members in a psychological group does not need to interact with or like other members or be accepted by other members. It is their perception of being a member of the group or sharing the same interests or issues that is the base for incorporation of that status into their social identity. His argument indicates that even without face-to-face interaction and without geographical space/locality, community identity and identification can be developed. Another research finding shows that developing social identification is done through symbolic interaction among members (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). Symbolic interaction is obtained through verbal and non-verbal interaction of members. Omitting physical and tangible artifacts may be compensated for, if not all but at least, by increased volume of information exchange. Contrary to common belief that, due to the properties of computer media, types and nature of online community are constrained to information exchange, there are many examples of online community providing emotional support, companionship and advice, and a sense of belonging (Wellman & Gulia, 1999). For example, for people who have trouble finding other people with the same medical problems, especially when

Authors: Chung, Siyoung.
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CMC Theories and Virtual Community
17
may be less tangible and more social and psychological in nature (Wiesenfeld,
Raghuram, & Garud, 1998).
According to social identity theory, identity is recognized as a critical factor
influencing members social and psychological being (Albert & Whetten, 1985; Ashforth
& Mael, 1989; Turner, 1984). Social identity theory posits that social identification is a
perception of oneness with a group of people and it leads to activities that are congruent
with the identity, support for the institutions (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). Turner (1984)
proposes “psychological group,” which he defined as “a collection of people who share
the same social identification or define themselves in terms of the same social category
membership (p. 530).” He argues that members in a psychological group does not need
to interact with or like other members or be accepted by other members. It is their
perception of being a member of the group or sharing the same interests or issues that is
the base for incorporation of that status into their social identity. His argument indicates
that even without face-to-face interaction and without geographical space/locality,
community identity and identification can be developed. Another research finding
shows that developing social identification is done through symbolic interaction among
members (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). Symbolic interaction is obtained through verbal and
non-verbal interaction of members. Omitting physical and tangible artifacts may be
compensated for, if not all but at least, by increased volume of information exchange.
Contrary to common belief that, due to the properties of computer media, types
and nature of online community are constrained to information exchange, there are
many examples of online community providing emotional support, companionship and
advice, and a sense of belonging (Wellman & Gulia, 1999). For example, for people
who have trouble finding other people with the same medical problems, especially when


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