It is general knowledge that one participates in online communities to interact with society and develop relationships. In addition to communities which focus strictly on information relating to illness and disease, there are also those which focus on specific health-related conditions such as fertility issues.
Individuals who suffer from rare or severe illnesses are unable to meet physically because of distance or because it could be a risk to their health to leave a secure environment. Some studies have indicated that virtual communities can provide valuable benefits to their users.
It appears that the creation of communities have a positive impact on those who are ill or in need of medical information.
New forms of civic engagement and citizenship have emerged from the rise of social networking sites.
In the seventeenth century, scholars associated with the Royal Society of London formed a community through the exchange of letters.
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.Virtual communities may synthesize Web 2.0 technologies with the community, and therefore have been described as Community 2.0, although strong community bonds have been forged online since the early 1970s on timeshare systems like PLATO and later on Usenet.Online communities depend upon social interaction and exchange between users online.Some authors that built their theories on Anderson's Imagined communities have been critical of the concept, claiming that all communities are based on communication and that virtual/real dichotomy is disintegrating, making use of the word "virtual" problematic or even obsolete.Virtual communities are used for a variety of social and professional groups; interaction between community members vary from personal to purely formal.