A virtual community is a social network of individuals who interact through specific social media, potentially crossing geographical and political boundaries in order to pursue mutual interests or goals. One of the most pervasive types of virtual community operate under social networking services consisting of various online communities.
The term virtual community is attributed to the book of the same title by Howard Rheingold. The book's discussion ranges from Rheingold's adventures on The WELL, computer-mediated communication and social groups and information science. Technologies cited include Usenet, MUDs (Multi-User Dungeon) and their derivatives MUSHes and MOOs, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), chat rooms and electronic mailing lists. Rheingold also points out the potential benefits for personal psychological well-being, as well as for society at large, of belonging to a virtual community.
The World Wide Web (abbreviated as WWW or W3, commonly known as the web) is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet. With a web browser, one can view web pages that may contain text, images, videos, and other multimedia and navigate between them via hyperlinks.
Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist and at that time employee of CERN, a European research organisation near Geneva, wrote a proposal in March 1989 for what would eventually become the World Wide Web. The 1989 proposal was meant for a more effective CERN communication system but Berners-Lee eventually realised the concept could be implemented throughout the world. Berners-Lee and Flemish computer scientist Robert Cailliau proposed in 1990 to use hypertext "to link and access information of various kinds as a web of nodes in which the user can browse at will", and Berners-Lee finished the first website in December that year. Berners-Lee posted the project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup on 7 August 1991.