לב-און, אזי, עורך. קהילות מקוונות. תל אביב: רסלינג, 2015.
The rapid penetration and intensive use of the Internet in general and online social media in particular allowed for the flourishing of a new type of communities – online communities that share some common traits with traditional geographic communities, but differ from them in other respects.
An online community is a dynamic association of individuals based on a common characteristic or a shared interest as the basis of a social relationship, and whose members engage in sustained interaction through the Internet. The voluntary affiliation of community members, the size of the community, the professionalization of its members and the self-regulation mechanisms that it engenders, helps the development of large-scale networks in which members choose to share information and engage in common interest over a substantial time period. In this way, online communities can be a magnet for large numbers of savvy individuals, and at the same time open a new world of opportunities for them.
Online Communities is a collection of articles written by Israeli scholars who are engaged in online communities of various kinds: parents with special needs children, adolescent girls, social workers, online forums dealing with health issues on the one hand and pro-anorexia communities on the other, and more. The chapters of the book address issues such as the structure and function of these communities, uses and gratifications derived from community membership, as well as methodological issues raised by the study of online communities.
The editor, Dr. Azi Lev-On, studies the social and political uses and influences of the Internet, especially social media arenas such as forums of Ultra- Orthodox women and of political activists, Facebook pages of municipalities and Knesset members, knowledge communities and online venues for public involvement.