The Internet and computer mediated communication offer new opportunities for communication studies. On-line individuals are encountering dramatic new possibilities for personal growth. This thesis critically interrogates these possibilities with its social psychological perspective. Through theory that owes much of its heritage to symbolic interaction, it asks questions about the virtualization of community and new manifestations of the digital self. Too often, commentators feel that community on-line is afforded simply by the connections that the Internet offers. Community, however, is most fully-developed when individuals recognize 'the other' such that they can most fully know themselves. A n empirical study of community networking is undertaken to support this concept and show that virtual community need not be an empty term. This study demonstrates that the way that people value information is more important than an information provider that is a good value.