On Virtual Communities (extract)- by Camelia Gradinaru

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Does the presence of New Media produce changes in the way people choose to get involved in communities? In this respect, the concept of virtual community is studied from an affective standpoint, as an emotional-symbolic construct. Thus, online community involvement can shape our daily lives and become a source of existential meanings. The academic antagonism between the pessimistic perspective and the optimistic one leaves behind a few uninvestigated possibilities. Adopting Benedict Anderson’s idea that all communities have an intrinsic imaginary dimension (they have to exist in people’s minds in order to be effective) and that what differentiates them is the style in which they are imagined, we believe that the theorization of distributed communities can offer fruitful suggestions in our search for a new sense of social intersection.

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