What is a community?

According to some writers, the word Community has its origin from the Latin "Communis" which means “common”. Communis can rise to many other combinations of words:
· Cum (joined) + munus (goods or services). Here the word means to put in common goods or services.
· Cum (joined) + unus (one). Here we can interpret it with the sense of unity or sole.
The first interpretation of community is based in the reciprocity, an important requisite and assumes that people are rational and able to choose the communities based on the reciprocity of the relationship that each one has to offer. The second interpretation links community with communication and both words are used in contexts in which the emphasis is to bring people together.
Taylor (1982) says that the attributes that all communities have are the following:
· Beliefs and common values;
· straight and indirect Relations between the members;
· Reciprocity.
The advent of the New Technologies of the Communication has modified the way people look at the community.
Although we cannot affirm that the Internet draws a representation of the social traditional nets, we cannot also deny the parallelism that exists between the two. More, we could be tempted to affirm that the net that the Internet displays to us, shows in an accelerated and visible way, the flows and structures of the real net.
In many aspects, the revolution of the telecommunications provoked only a quantitative change, not qualitative, inside the structure of the systems of social communication. The discussion on the creation of virtual communities and his possible comparison with another type of real, or traditional nets, cannot limit itself to a straight liaison between both types of nets, as if they were working in a parallel way. In many cases, this can be right. For example, a group of friends that begins to communicate through e-mail. While they write each other, the content, and the type of messages, there will always have an analogy with the "real" relation that already existed previously. But the result could turn to be more complex, since it produced a set of relations that depend on another type of nets. I.e. a social analysis must pass necessarily by the study of the interaction of a type of net with others.
The quick growth of the Internet made us accelerate our plan in the construction of the stated net of the nets. We cannot study the Internet per se, as it is integrated in the set of other nets of social type. The chat or IRC is the form of communicating in real time in the Internet.
Through a chat we obtain immediate and transcribed information on the time of conversation or answer, without taking into account the distance between two persons or in groups.
It is easy to think that the off-line (real) and on-line (virtual) communities are different, therefore impossible of establishing a comparison. But, what’s the basis? The geographical distance? The absence of physical language? The available media? Doesn’t communicating in bits and bytes have the same immediate effect of the communication in presence?
The means at the disposal of the on-line communities can be different; nevertheless communication will be basically same. The virtual communities need confidence, identity, leisure zones, such as in any real community. The only difference lays in the space of meeting of the individuals. Here, unlike the real communities, it is allowed that in the same context they communicate many-to-many.

Virtual Communities