The article presents a conceptualization of a new form of community - virtual community. The author does not aspire to a holistic explication of the influence of new technology on the functioning of societies. She attempts rather to explain only one of its areas - that pertaining to the evolution of interpersonal interactions as shaped by new technology. This article poses the question whether it is possible for the virtual communities to form and function in an analogous manner to the communities in a real society. The author uses data from her own research; she also takes into consideration other empirical works, so that the results are complex and objective, and are far from one-sided and simplistic. The article shows the particular ethos of Internet community members and explains how their norms and values are played out on the Internet, also pointing out the implications of deviant behavior. The author tackles a vital ąuestion of role-play and identity building in virtual reality. Finally, she presents a typology of Internet users and Internet culture.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.