Over the millennia of our existence humanity has evolved in hundreds, if not thousands of different ways. Some of those evolutions have come about through the natural course of events, while others because of circumstances and conditions. On a social level one of the more interesting changes has been our ways and means of identifying our personal communities. It used to be that our family unit was our first and primary social group. Who we were born to could pretty much determine the course our lives would take. Even when things like family name and its position in society began to lessen in importance blood ties were considered to be ties that would never break.
It has only been in the last half century that any real radical redefining of community has taken place with family surrendering its position of prominence in our social structure. For although it's true that for some family is of primary importance, its no longer necessarily the community that defines us. Instead of us being defined by our communities, we now search out the communities which best fit our definition of ourselves. People may still try to impose physical or genealogical boundaries on a community, but most of us require more than that from those we surround ourselves with.
In a family of businessmen and women just how well will the person who has to write, paint, or create music fit in? Who will they have to talk to who will truly understand what motivates them, who can at least understand their experience? Up until ten years ago most people in that situation would have had to leave home and go to some physical destination to find others of the same mindset, but with the rise of the Internet as a means of communication that's all changed. Online communities of like-minded people can be formed between people who aren't even on the same continent and may in fact never even meet.
In his novel Eastern Standard Tribe, available as a free download like all his books, as well as for sale, Cory Doctorow has created a combination of physical and virtual communities based on people's feelings of affinity for behaviour in a particular time zone. These "tribes" exist online through sophisticated versions of what we would call chat rooms, and no matter where you are in the world you can hook up with your tribe simply by logging on. Of course the time differentials do come into play, for if your job happens to have taken you to Europe and you want to keep in touch with your tribe on the East coast of North America you start to run into problems with sleep deprivation.