Virtual Community

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What Does Virtual Community Mean?

A virtual community is a group of people who share common interests, feelings or ideas, or pursue similar goals over the Internet or over any collaborative network. Social media is the most common vehicle for this sharing and interaction, which can potentially transcend geographical boundaries, race, culture, political views and religion when people are connected by another common interest or agenda.


Techopedia Explains Virtual Community

This term is originally attributed to Howard Rheingold’s book “The Virtual Community,” which was published in 1993. In it, Rheingold describes the virtual community as social aggregations that emerge from the Internet when people continue discussions long enough and with enough emotion to form real human relationships within cyberspace.

For whatever other reason, virtual communities are built around certain needs and goals. Here are some common examples of virtual community types:

Forums, online chat rooms, specialized information communities, email groups

These are made up of people who either discuss or share about a common topic/theme. They may also act as a place to ask experts in a specific field for help.

Virtual worlds

The people in virtual worlds share the common interest of the world itself. These worlds are often massively multiplayer games like “World of Warcraft.”

Social networks

Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are the most common social networking hubs, and they all allow people to form smaller communities based on other interests. Other communities in this category, such as Pinterest and YouTube, focused on media sharing.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.