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Applying CMC Theoreis to Assess Virtual Community
Unformatted Document Text:  CMC Theories and Virtual Community 1 Introduction For the past years, there have been a growing number of online communities and more and more people are getting involved in one or more online communities. Despite the prosperity and popularity of online communities, it is an ongoing debate whether or not online community is a legitimate community. The claim that online community cannot be a legitimate community is based on two arguments. The first argument is based on the notion that community is referred as people sharing same physical space, and interacting face-to-face to share companionship and support of all kinds (Wellman, 1999). This notion does not acknowledge online community as one as members of online community usually do not share same geographic location, such as neighborhoods. The second argument is that computer media through which online community members communicate with one another is not appropriate or efficient for building interpersonal relationship, due to their low capacity of conveying contextual information. Some scholars criticize this negative view of online community for not reflecting the reality of changing environment. For example, Wellman (1993) has discovered that such neighborhood and kinship ties are only portions of people’s overall community networks because of the advancement of transportation and technology. He claims that communities do hot have to be solitary groups of densely knit neighbors, but could also exist as social networks of kin, friends, and workmates who do not necessarily live in the same neighborhoods. Taking social network approach, Wellman (1994) urges to redefine the concept of community and to stretch the meaning beyond the geographic constraints. Social network approach focuses more on relationships between participants rather than attributes of them, sense of interdependence of

Authors: Chung, Siyoung.
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CMC Theories and Virtual Community
1
Introduction
For the past years, there have been a growing number of online communities and
more and more people are getting involved in one or more online communities. Despite
the prosperity and popularity of online communities, it is an ongoing debate whether or
not online community is a legitimate community. The claim that online community
cannot be a legitimate community is based on two arguments. The first argument is
based on the notion that community is referred as people sharing same physical space,
and interacting face-to-face to share companionship and support of all kinds (Wellman,
1999). This notion does not acknowledge online community as one as members of
online community usually do not share same geographic location, such as
neighborhoods. The second argument is that computer media through which online
community members communicate with one another is not appropriate or efficient for
building interpersonal relationship, due to their low capacity of conveying contextual
information.
Some scholars criticize this negative view of online community for not
reflecting the reality of changing environment. For example, Wellman (1993) has
discovered that such neighborhood and kinship ties are only portions of people’s overall
community networks because of the advancement of transportation and technology. He
claims that communities do hot have to be solitary groups of densely knit neighbors, but
could also exist as social networks of kin, friends, and workmates who do not
necessarily live in the same neighborhoods. Taking social network approach, Wellman
(1994) urges to redefine the concept of community and to stretch the meaning beyond
the geographic constraints. Social network approach focuses more on relationships
between participants rather than attributes of them, sense of interdependence of


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