I’m both passionate about communities (having created the community advocate group in Facebook, as well as held the community manager role at HDS) and am now doing research on this topic. I’m on a quest to find an accurate, reliable, and timeless definition of the term “online community”.
I vetted this definition with my Twitter network, received nearly 50 responses this morning. I’ve boiled down a definition to the following:
An online community is: Where a group of people with similar goals or interests connect and exchange information using web tools.
In the past a community was a group of people who shared the same land and the same values.
Now it’s cool to use the word “community” but, for example, i like radio (i’m in Europe) and other 2 persons (1 in the US and 1 in Japan) like radio and we talk about it on the net; we don’t know anything else about ourselves. Are we part of the same community? Sorry, we aren’t.
I would say “online network” without any strong ties instead of community.
When i hear “online communities” i think about “imagined communities” of Benedict Anderson."