Abstract: The article discusses the changes in computer-mediated communication and virtual communities and recognizes that they are due exclusively to the development of social networks. Social networks have created an integrated environment where many different types of communication (to criteria that distinguish different types of computer-mediated communication) are possible in the same virtual space: public / private, synchronous / asynchronous, with informative function / solidarity / operational / entertainment etc. They are used for communication with virtual communities different in their: social identity, national belonging, and functional purposes. Complex expression is achieved: through text, visual, audio, and video materials that work together. The eased multifunctional environment expands the social base and the upper and lower age limits of users. Drivers of interaction in social networks are not computer-based groups, but ordinary users, united by common interests and causes. As a result of these processes the sharing of common discourse practices increases. The hybridisation of the speech removes the differences between written and spoken language, registers, styles and even languages.
Keywords: computer-mediated communication, virtual communities, social networks, internet communication, information society, internet discourse
Rhetoric and Communications Е-Journal, Issue 9, July 2013, http://rhetoric.bg/, ISSN 1314-4464