The relational dimension, proposed by Joseph Gusfield, recognizes that communities are not only characterized by physical spaces or organizational structures but also by the emotional and interpersonal bonds among community members. It encompasses the sense of belonging, social interactions, and shared values that contribute to the community's cohesion and identity. The relational dimension highlights the importance of relationships, trust, and social connectedness in fostering a vibrant and supportive community environment.
The relational dimension of community applies to online communities as well. While online communities lack physical proximity, they can still foster a strong sense of belonging and social connections among members through virtual interactions. Online communities provide platforms for individuals to connect with like-minded individuals, share experiences, and form meaningful relationships. The relational dimension in an online community involves cultivating a sense of community, facilitating positive interactions, and fostering trust among members. Online communities that prioritize building relationships, promoting active engagement, and providing opportunities for connection and support can create a vibrant and cohesive virtual community experience.