Virtual Communities
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2022 ◽  
Vol 6 ◽  
Author(s):  
Jessica J. Santana

Virtual communities of practice invoke novel forms of boundary work that are newly visible via publicly recorded discourse and failure narratives. This boundary work has critical implications for occupational knowledge, membership, and stratification. Building on social exchange theorization of network gatekeeping, the author tests the assumption that centralized peers are more competitive gatekeepers, in that they react more negatively to remedial narratives. The author tests this theory using empirical data from a virtual entrepreneur community on Reddit. The author finds that a peer’s tenure in the community network is directly related to exclusive, competitive boundary work of remedial members. However, by looking beyond the network structure to the content of the tie, the author finds that exclusive boundary work is not as impactful as inclusive, collaborative boundary work in this open network setting. The author builds on relational cohesion and exchange commitment theory to explain how remedial practitioners circumvent central community gatekeepers through failure narratives that provoke empathy from peripheral peers who experience higher uncertainty than core peers. Understanding these dynamics is critical to promoting recovery from failure and vitality of the community of practice.


Author(s):  
Robin Lizzo ◽  
Toni Liechty

Keeping up with technology today can be challenging. As park and recreation agencies increasingly find the need to adapt to and incorporate new technologies to stay relevant, the challenge to maintain membership and attract the ever-growing digital generation cannot be underestimated. Technology has long been considered a tool for agency administration, program registration, and implementation, but new forms of technological interaction should be considered by professionals as a way to reach existing and potential participants as well as a way to build community. The rapid development and growth of technology has spurred the development and popularity of virtual communities. Although these communities have been around for over 30 years, they have not yet been adopted into the professional “tool kit” for program delivery or in reaching out to foster stronger community connections and involvements. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore perceptions of benefits and motivation among participants of a leisure-based virtual community. This study utilized the qualitative research technique netnography to explore the perceived benefits and motivations of members of the virtual community The Hogwarts Running Club (HRC). The community has the mission of changing the world through physical fitness and charitable giving and has attracted a large, active, and loyal membership. The HRC was an ideal study setting due to its popularity and the leisure-based nature of the community. The HRC virtual interactions included in the dataset took place via a Facebook group where the focus of discussion was on Harry Potter and running. Data analysis revealed three primary categories of perceived benefits and motivations among the Facebook posts collected over a six-month timeframe: improved physical health, improved mental health, and social and emotional support. Participants indicated that their participation in HRC community events and the support and encouragement they received led to these perceived benefits. As many park and recreation agencies have mandates and commitments to improve quality of life for their constituents, facilitating a leisure-based virtual community might be one avenue of doing so. As such, implications derived from the findings for theory and practice are discussed along with suggestions for future research and practice.


2022 ◽  
pp. 166-184
Author(s):  
Jose-M Jimenez-Pelaez ◽  
Juana Rubio-Romero

Recent technological advances have promoted a social change that affects all areas of society, but mainly communication and entertainment, where social networks play a primordial function as they facilitate sociability and the creation of virtual communities. So-called “social media marketing” facilitates direct interaction between brands and markets through the Internet. For this, new communication strategies have been implemented, oriented towards the active participation of the users to increase their engagement. Some of these are inspired by the main product of the entertainment industry, videogames, through gamification. However, not many research studies have focused on classic role-playing games (RPGs), despite being considered the types of games that create the greatest player involvement. This work enquires about the possibilities offered by these games for the implementation of social media marketing strategies. A qualitative research study was conducted in which the engagement strategies utilized by RPG were associated with those utilized in social networks.


Author(s):  
Jessica L. Moore

Virtual social connection has become a way of life for many people. The continued implementation of new technologies in social interaction presents an ever-escalating need for researchers and practitioners to understand the implications of mediated interaction and virtual communities on human health and wellbeing. Accordingly, this chapter presents research on the salience of communication and social bonds in relation to human health and wellbeing, explores ways in which individual as well as relational health and wellbeing are affected by the use of social network sites, and argues a case for research on the health-related functions of expressive narratives in virtual settings such as online social networks. Considerations and future directions for research of these issues conclude this chapter.


2021 ◽  
Vol 21 (2) ◽  
pp. 391-402
Author(s):  
K. A. Platonov ◽  
N. I. Legostaeva

Online communities in the study of political communication are a relatively new research field. Within its framework, independent thematic sections are developing, which in many respects remain fragmented due to the insufficient systematization. The article presents the results of the analysis and description of the research field of online communities in the context of political communication based on 60 English-language sources. This sample included publications on a wide range of issues: from the activity of official accounts and websites of politicians, parties, organizations to the user behavior and political discussions in virtual communities. The authors identified five large thematic groups that consider online communities in different research perspectives: classification of communities, study of their structure and elements, analysis of their strategies and tactics, functions and effects, and life cycles. The article describes the main features and internal structure of the identified thematic groups, considers approaches and methods for solving specific tasks in the study of actors, channels, practices and models of political communication. The authors also consider the technical factors of the formation of communities, differences in methods and units of analysis, types of political communicants. The authors make a conclusion about the sufficient maturity of the research field and its thematic sections, which is combined with the differing popularity of research topics. Online communities represent a special public space which allows researchers to answer questions about the success of political leaders, movements and organizations, the effects of the viral spread of online protests and flash mobs, and the audiences response to significant politicized issues. The authors identify two trends in the development of the corresponding methodology: strengthening practical orientation and increasingly complex techniques based on the machine algorithms for data analysis.


Author(s):  
M. John Lamola

The very claim of the historical instance of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is increasingly being subjected to critical interrogation from a variety of cultural and ideological perspectives. From an Afrocentric theory of history, this questioning of the ontology of the 4IR is sharpened by Africa’s experience of the claimed progressive mutation of global industrial progress from the “first” to this “fourth” revolution. Africa experienced the first industrial revolution as a European revolution in the exploitation of her natural and human resources, as well as the despoliation of her cultural-epistemic sovereignty. The challenge to fully engage in the theorisation of this 4IR, given the overwhelming and inexorable effects of its digital technologies on the personhood, sociality and geopolitical state of Africa has exposed the critical need for a set of rigorous Africanist analytical tools and epistemological approaches capable of guiding Africa’s appropriation of this techno-social revolution. This essay introduces the collection of research papers that have been selected for their endeavour to meet this challenge. It is highlighted that all of them move from a unique approach that asserts that technological progress is historical-cultural and socially embedded. Some of them address the question of the historico-ontological status of the 4IR innovatively with original African methodological tools, while others demonstrate how an African epistemology can be applied to issues such a digital virtual communities and robotics. This contribution to the bourgeoning field of African Philosophy of Technology is admired as work in progress.


Author(s):  
Stephen Nkansah Morgan ◽  
Beatrice Okyere-Manu

A virtual community is generally described as a group of people with shared interests, ideas, and goals in a particular digital group or virtual platform. Virtual communities have become ubiquitous in recent times, and almost everyone belongs to one or multiple virtual communities. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with its associated national lockdowns, has made virtual communities more essential and a necessary part of our daily lives, whether for work and business, educational purposes or keeping in touch with friends and family. Given these facts, how do we ensure that virtual communities become a true community qua community? We address this question by proposing and arguing for a ‘virtual communitarianism’—an online community that integrates essential features of traditional African communitarianism in its outlook and practice. The paper’s position is that virtual communitarianism can make for a strong ethical virtual community where members can demonstrate a strong sense of group solidarity, care and compassion towards each other. The inclusion of these virtues can bring members who often are farapart and help create a stronger community bond. This will ensure that the evolution of virtual communities does not happen without the integration of progressive African communitarian values.


2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
◽  
Syahida Hassan

<p>Although the field of social commerce has gained a lot of attention recently, there are many areas that still remain unexplored. A new phenomenon emerging within virtual communities is a blurring between social and commercial activities. To date, scholars in the social commerce literature have either focused on customers in the community or on medium to large scale businesses. There has been little research on social commerce communities which include micro-businesses despite their rapid growth in South East Asian countries.  This study explores a social commerce community of Malay lifestyle bloggers, who are a subset of the Malaysian blogosphere community. Bloggers begin by using the personal genre, some then move on to set up online businesses using their personal blogs as a platform. The characteristic of blogging’s ease of use means there are low barriers to starting a small business, merging blogging and commerce. This changes the nature of the community by bringing in a new relationship, as well as relationships between bloggers and readers, there are now also relationships between sellers and customers.  This study aims to understand the motivations for both sellers and customers, and how their relationships as bloggers and readers influence their participation in social commerce within the same community. To address the research objective, 20 sellers and 21 customers who also play a role as bloggers or readers were interviewed. In-depth interviews using laddering and semi-structured interview techniques were carried out to explore social commerce behaviour, the perceived consequences, and goals or values of participation. In addition, observation was also conducted on the platform used by the sellers. Data was coded using NVivo whilst the themes arising from the coding process were transformed into an implication matrix and hierarchical value map using Ladderux software.  This study found that strong ties within the community, influenced by homophily and the sense of virtual community, motivated the customers to participate in commercial activities in order to obtain their goals which included a sense of obligation, loyalty, satisfaction and self-esteem. The relationships influenced customers to trust each other, provide social support and made purchasing products more convenient. Sellers were influenced by the convenience of using social media and the social support provided by the customers which helped them to achieve their goals which are profit and business sustainability.  This study contributes to social commerce theory by highlighting an underexplored type of social commerce setting and addressing how trust can be transferred from social to commercial activities. The findings provide a useful insight for businesses, regardless of their size, to build an understanding of the need to create a good relationship with their customers. For macro-businesses, this model can be used to identify what is lacking in their social media marketing strategy.</p>


2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
◽  
Syahida Hassan

<p>Although the field of social commerce has gained a lot of attention recently, there are many areas that still remain unexplored. A new phenomenon emerging within virtual communities is a blurring between social and commercial activities. To date, scholars in the social commerce literature have either focused on customers in the community or on medium to large scale businesses. There has been little research on social commerce communities which include micro-businesses despite their rapid growth in South East Asian countries.  This study explores a social commerce community of Malay lifestyle bloggers, who are a subset of the Malaysian blogosphere community. Bloggers begin by using the personal genre, some then move on to set up online businesses using their personal blogs as a platform. The characteristic of blogging’s ease of use means there are low barriers to starting a small business, merging blogging and commerce. This changes the nature of the community by bringing in a new relationship, as well as relationships between bloggers and readers, there are now also relationships between sellers and customers.  This study aims to understand the motivations for both sellers and customers, and how their relationships as bloggers and readers influence their participation in social commerce within the same community. To address the research objective, 20 sellers and 21 customers who also play a role as bloggers or readers were interviewed. In-depth interviews using laddering and semi-structured interview techniques were carried out to explore social commerce behaviour, the perceived consequences, and goals or values of participation. In addition, observation was also conducted on the platform used by the sellers. Data was coded using NVivo whilst the themes arising from the coding process were transformed into an implication matrix and hierarchical value map using Ladderux software.  This study found that strong ties within the community, influenced by homophily and the sense of virtual community, motivated the customers to participate in commercial activities in order to obtain their goals which included a sense of obligation, loyalty, satisfaction and self-esteem. The relationships influenced customers to trust each other, provide social support and made purchasing products more convenient. Sellers were influenced by the convenience of using social media and the social support provided by the customers which helped them to achieve their goals which are profit and business sustainability.  This study contributes to social commerce theory by highlighting an underexplored type of social commerce setting and addressing how trust can be transferred from social to commercial activities. The findings provide a useful insight for businesses, regardless of their size, to build an understanding of the need to create a good relationship with their customers. For macro-businesses, this model can be used to identify what is lacking in their social media marketing strategy.</p>


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