One can define the virtual community in various and sundry ways:
The multitude of user groups which share a virtual space on-line may well be considered virtual communities. Examples include the clients of such large-scale service providers as GeoCities, Tripod, AngelFire, and so on.
Furthermore, the users of any IRC channel (which, for the unitiated, constitutes a synchronous text-based chat line) or newsgroup (a similar messaging system which is asynchronous) form yet another form of virtual comunity.
People who share a common interest (be it humor, the Cure, Star Trek, Pamela Anderson or seventeen-dimensional topology) also gather virtually, through e-mail newsletters, fan websites (such as that for The Grateful Dead, or by various other means.
Finally, the readers of any hypertextual work, which is a large group incorporating all preceding examples and a whole lot more, creates a virtual community without the knowledge of the members of said community.
Last modified 27 January 2005