Virginia Montecino
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What is a Cyberculture / Virtual Community?

Virtual communities emerged from a surprising intersection of human needs and technology. When the ubiquity of the telecommunications network is combined with the information-structuring and storing capabilities of computers, a new communication medium becomes possible. Virtual community is a term commonly used to described various forms of computer-mediated communication, particularly long-term, textually mediated conversations among large groups. It is a group of people who may or may not meet one another face-to-face, and who exchange words and ideas through the mediation of computer networks and bulletin boards. The range of activities is immense. People chat. They argue. They exchange property, ideas and gossip. They plan, make friends, even fall in love. They do everything people do when they meet face-to-face, but by using computers, they do it separated in space and time. Electronic interactions in which people don't know each other make new kinds of communities possible.The improved communication of virtual interaction allows people to seek out more easily those who espouse similar beliefs than can be done in a physical world. For example, Net newsgroups and electronic bulletin boards allow people to share ideas and knowledge on a particular subject.... 

from: "The Virtual Driving Forces in the Virtual Society," Magid Igbaria, 
Communications of the ACM , Dec 99,Vol 42, No. 12.

The virtual communties are formed around interests ranging from hobbies to self-help issues, to scholarly and professional discourse. These online communities, which share a common interest, are prone to visiting some of the same Web sites which serve the special interest they share and discuss in digital interaction. For example, professionals and scholars in the field of Computer Science would use the Web site for the ACM,  the Association for Computing Machinery <>.  Professionals and scholars who are interested in computer studies from the humanities perspective might visit the Association for Computers and the Humanities Web site <>.  Some scholars and professionals studying digital information would visit both the ACM and the ACH Web sites. (Virginia Montecino)

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