Information technology and virtual communities

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Information technologies have made virtual communities possible. A community is a gathering of individuals who share something—be it knowledge, shared interests, a common purpose, or similar geographic surroundings. Traditionally, most communities are bound by time and space such that interaction and communication takes place in a same-time, same-place setting (Johansen, Sibbet, Benson, Martin, Mittman, & Saffo, 1991; Moffitt, 1999). The ready availability, high performance, and rapid diffusion of information technologies that enable communication across time, geography, and formal organizations now permits the development of communities that exist solely in the interaction activities made possible by IT (Igbaria, 1999). In essence, the community exists “virtually” through communication over the Internet (e.g., in cyberspace, as per Lee, Vogel, & Limayem, 2003) rather than taking on physical form at a specific time and in a specific geographic location.

Publisher's Statement

© 2005 Idea Group Inc. Publisher’s version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.4018/978-1-59140-561-0.ch060

Publication Title

Encyclopedia of Multimedia Technology and Networking