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Applying CMC Theoreis to Assess Virtual Community
Unformatted Document Text:  CMC Theories and Virtual Community 2 participants, and the effects of structure on the outcomes (Burt, 1992). When social network approach is adopted, definition of community can be free from geographical constraints and, possibly include online community. Whereas many, like cyber- enthusiasts, assume that removing geographical elements grants online community legitimacy/authenticity, there should be prerequisites for a community to be a community. As social network approach asserts, one needs to explore the interpersonal relationships and group interactions unique to community and then examine if online community does have those elements in it. It is widely accepted that CMC is inherently lacking in capacity to convey contextual information such as physical attributes of participants, non-verbal cues and gestures. Many research findings have led to the conclusion that CMC is not efficient for complex tasks and social relationships (See Culnan & Markus, 1987 for a review). As research interest grew as to the effects and outcomes of CMC on human interaction using computers, it was discovered that CMC possesses quality and ability for building social relationships in certain circumstances (Walther, 1992). Among many research and studies on online community, however, there is few examining online community with theoretical frameworks and many are descriptive. As online community is ubiquitous and becoming reality rather than remaining as hype, new concepts and understanding of this new social formation is imperative. The purpose of this paper is to provide such concepts and understanding by exploring central concepts of community and social aspects of CMC. This paper is organized as follows. First, previous studies on community are reviewed to provide the core concepts of community. Second, CMC theories and research are reviewed to examine the social aspects of CMC and the potential of the

Authors: Chung, Siyoung.
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CMC Theories and Virtual Community
2
participants, and the effects of structure on the outcomes (Burt, 1992). When social
network approach is adopted, definition of community can be free from geographical
constraints and, possibly include online community. Whereas many, like cyber-
enthusiasts, assume that removing geographical elements grants online community
legitimacy/authenticity, there should be prerequisites for a community to be a
community. As social network approach asserts, one needs to explore the interpersonal
relationships and group interactions unique to community and then examine if online
community does have those elements in it.
It is widely accepted that CMC is inherently lacking in capacity to convey
contextual information such as physical attributes of participants, non-verbal cues and
gestures. Many research findings have led to the conclusion that CMC is not efficient
for complex tasks and social relationships (See Culnan & Markus, 1987 for a review).
As research interest grew as to the effects and outcomes of CMC on human interaction
using computers, it was discovered that CMC possesses quality and ability for building
social relationships in certain circumstances (Walther, 1992).
Among many research and studies on online community, however, there is few
examining online community with theoretical frameworks and many are descriptive. As
online community is ubiquitous and becoming reality rather than remaining as hype,
new concepts and understanding of this new social formation is imperative. The purpose
of this paper is to provide such concepts and understanding by exploring central
concepts of community and social aspects of CMC.
This paper is organized as follows. First, previous studies on community are
reviewed to provide the core concepts of community. Second, CMC theories and
research are reviewed to examine the social aspects of CMC and the potential of the


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