But according to this study, I do belong to a settlement:-
Defining & Characterizing Virtual Settlements
The need to distinguish between a virtual community's CMC [computer mediated communication] messages and the virtual community itself creates a dilemma similar in form to those faced by a number other disciplines. For example, after centuries of debate over the mind-body problem, psychology now distinguishes between the act of cognition and observable behavior. Likewise, it is necessary to distinguish between a community and its material in order to determine when a series of group-CMC demonstrates the existence of a virtual community. Therefore a distinction will need to be made between the cyber-place within which a virtual community operates, which will be termed a virtual settlement, and the virtual communities themselves.
For a cyber-place with associated group-CMC to be labeled as a virtual settlement it is necessary for it to meet a minimum set of conditions. These are: (1) a minimum level of interactivity; (2) a variety of communicators; (3) a minimum level of sustained membership; and (4) a virtual common-public-space where a significant portion of interactive group-CMCs occur. The notion of interactivity will be shown to be central to virtual settlements. Further, it will be shown that virtual settlements can be defined as a cyber-place that is symbolically delineated by topic of interest and within which a significant proportion of interrelated interactive group-CMC occurs. It also follows that the existence of a virtual settlement demonstrates the existence of an associated virtual community.
(1) Minimum Level of Interactivity
It has been argued by some sociologists [(Minar and Greer 1969)] that our understanding of community begins with an examination of interaction and that leads to commitment to a given place and group. Both communities and virtual communities are composed of “groups”...
And it goes on:
Characterizing virtual settlements
Once a virtual settlement has been identified it can be characterized via an empirical description of its CMC-message-system. For example, does the virtual settlement under study have a large but unstable population? Or is it small and cohesive? Such a characterization can result from the modeling of a number of variables such as the number of subscribers; the number of posters; the density of posting; the number of topics generated over a particular period of time; the average length of postings. and so on. In a similar fashion, traditional human settlements have been characterized by archaeologists who have been interested in such issues as the development of sedentism, agrarian-based urban settlements and the growth of industrially based cities.
In both archaeology and the field of CMC, researchers focus on cultural artifacts: the archaeologist on scarabs, pots, arrow heads, the remains of cities, etc., the CMC researcher on listserv postings, web site structures, web site content, number of spams, Usenet content, etc. These artifacts can provide an integrative framework for a settlement's life, be it virtual or real, or they can obstruct or fail to facilitate otherwise viable, active behavior. As will be shown below the discipline of archaeology provides insights into how such characterizations of virtual settlements can be studied in order to expand our understanding of communication in general...