Interesting post by Jame at Community Guy: What is community? Here’s a snippet
People often think that blogs, forums wikis, and other tools are community. In actuality, those tools are just that – tools. They can help you to build community, but they aren’t actually “community”. When we talk community, we’re simply talking about an interaction, a connection. Blogs or forums are a way to initiate and sustain that interaction.
Much of the problem with debates like this are over definitions. I quite like this offering by Jake:
A community is a group of people who form relationships over time by interacting regularly around shared experiences, which are of interest to all of them for varying individual reasons.
I especially like the broadness allowed by shared experiences. I think there’s a trap where we assume a community has a single shared purpose; they often don’t.
UPDATE: There’s a lively debate on the same topic over at Brandshift.