Individuals may participate in multiple social networks by communicating through networked media forums, which can broadly be referred to as virtual communities. The communication among the participants within the virtual environment is generally mediated through communicative technologies rather than in person. Consequently, specific communities can take shape in the virtual world that might not exist otherwise.

With the rise of social media, both developed and developing nations have witnessed a gradual and substantial transformation of structures of social organization. Debates surrounding virtual community spark discussions of the social relational structures in contemporary society. Even though conceptual understanding about virtual community is inexorably linked to the development of the Internet and new media, virtual communities are often considered a cultural practice as well. This entry provides an ...

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