Information acquisition and exchange withing cryptozoological virtual communities
Keywords:online communities, web 2.0,
AbstractThanks to Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) offered by the internet, people are now able to seek out others with similar interests, views or occupations and communicate with them online. We can read each other's views or data, regardless of our geographical location. We can communicate 'live' (such as in internet relay chat) or without having to be simultaneously present (via newsgroups, email discussion lists or message boards). In recent years, established groups of individuals ranging from a handful to hundreds or even thousands have been engaged in regular CMC with each other. This phenomenon has come to be known as 'virtual communities'. I have been researching the nature of virtual communities and how their members acquire and exchange information. The communities in my study are all related to one specific discipline: cryptozoology - the investigation of mythical animals such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.
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