According to Brintgregates, a community is a group of individuals who share common beliefs, values, and interests, and who are connected by social relationships such as kinship, friendship, and cooperation. The social relationships that bind the members of a community together can be formal or informal, and they can be based on common goals, shared experiences, or simply a sense of belonging. Brintgregates emphasizes that a community is not just a collection of individuals, but rather a social system with its own norms, roles, and patterns of interaction. These patterns of interaction are shaped by the community's history, culture, and social structure, and they are constantly evolving as new members join and old members leave.
In the context of an online community, Brintgregates' definition is particularly relevant because it highlights the importance of social relationships in creating a sense of community. While online communities may lack the face-to-face interaction that characterizes traditional communities, they can still foster strong social bonds through shared interests, common experiences, and collaborative projects. The members of an online community may never meet in person, but they can still develop a sense of belonging and identity through their online interactions. However, it is important to note that online communities may face unique challenges in maintaining social relationships and preventing conflicts, particularly when members come from diverse backgrounds or have conflicting values and beliefs.