Social aggregates are temporary groupings of individuals who happen to be in the same place or engage in a common activity but do not necessarily interact socially or identify as a cohesive unit. They represent a gathering of individuals based on their proximity or involvement in a specific event, such as people waiting in line, audience members at a concert, or shoppers in a mall. While social aggregates share a physical space or activity, they lack the social bonds and shared goals typically found in organized groups or communities.
In the context of an online community, social aggregates can be compared to passive or loosely connected individuals who visit a forum or website without actively engaging in social interactions or forming a sense of community. These individuals may browse through content, read discussions, or access resources without actively participating in conversations, contributing their own content, or forming social connections with other community members. While they are present within the online community, their level of engagement is limited, and they may not identify themselves as active participants or feel a sense of belonging within the community. Understanding the presence of social aggregates within online communities can help community managers design strategies to encourage greater participation, promote interaction, and foster a stronger sense of community among all members.