McMillan & Chavis' theory of sense of community proposes that a sense of community is formed when individuals feel a sense of belonging, influence, integration, and shared emotional connection within a group. According to this theory, a strong sense of community is fostered by factors such as positive relationships, shared values and goals, opportunities for participation and contribution, and a feeling of being emotionally connected and supported by others. These elements contribute to individuals' satisfaction, well-being, and engagement within a community.
Applying McMillan & Chavis' theory to an online community, a sense of community can be cultivated by creating opportunities for members to actively engage and participate in meaningful ways. Features like discussion forums, collaborative projects, and shared goals can promote a sense of membership and influence. Integration can be fostered through inclusive practices, encouraging diverse perspectives, and providing spaces for shared experiences. Building a sense of emotional connection can be facilitated by facilitating supportive interactions, empathetic communication, and creating a positive online environment where members feel valued and connected. By considering and implementing these elements, online communities can enhance members' sense of community, satisfaction, and overall engagement.