Network Communities: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed ...
Collaboration has long been of considerable interest to both designers and researchers in the CHI and CSCW communities. This paper contributes to this discussion by proposing the concept of network communities as a new genre of collaboration for this discussion. Network communities are robust and persistent communities based on a sense of locality that spans both the virtual and physical worlds of their users. They are a technosocial construct that requires understanding of both the technology and the sociality embodying them. We consider several familiar systems as well as historical antecedents to describe the affordances these systems offer their community of users. Based on our own experience as designers, users and researchers of a variety of network communities, we extend this initial design space along three dimensions: the boundary negotiations between real and virtual worlds, support for social rhythms and the emergence and development of community. Finally we offer implications for designers, researchers and community members based on our findings.