Abstract for Sense of Community in a Mediated World
I’m still in the throes of editing, but here is my current version of the abstract:
Although feelings of sense of community differ within community types such as neighborhoods and interest-based communities, research continues to address online communities as a single concept due to their mediated nature. This study measures sense of community across online and offline communities, starting with World of Warcraft guilds, to look for differences by community type. Results indicate that guilds show significantly higher sense of community scores than other identified online communities, which mostly include social news sites and social networks. Both guilds and online communities have significantly higher scores than neighborhoods. Communities of choice, including online and offline groups composed mainly of gaming groups and professional communities, are not significantly different from guilds but do have significantly higher scores than both online communities and neighborhoods. Text analysis of open-ended responses shows that traditional factors are primary identifying elements of sense of community across all community types despite some differences in the frequency of use between communities.