Participation or content-driven of members was claimed by most of the authors in this week reading as the soul of online communities (OCs). It is impossible for the OCs to alive long lasting without active participation and highly motivated members (Ling, Beenen, Ludford, Wang, Chang, Li, Cosley, Frankowski, Terveen, Rashid, Resnick, & Kraut, 2005). Member’s participation in the OCs has some definite characteristics that similar to the motivation on join the real-life or face-to-face (f2f) communities (Ridings & Gefen, 2004). Thus, I can see that all the authors (Ridings & Gefen, 2004; Tedjamulia, Dean, Olsen, & Albercht, 2005; Ling, et al., 2005; Java, Finin, Song & Tseng, 2007; and Schrock, 2009) are coming in two agreements. First, motivation on joining f2f community can be used to analyze motivation on joining OCs. Second, researching members’ participation and goals of joining OCs will help to explain why there is OCs that going on top of popularity and the others become unpopular.
While I am read these five articles, I mapped the information into table. From this table, we can see that the articles are taken from 2004 until 2007. Every article focused on different OCs. Riding and Gefen (2004) looked at a bulletin board. Tedjamulia et al. (2005) analyzed several OCs like Slashdot, Opinion, and Coolsolutions. Online movie recommender,MoviLens was discussed by Ling et al (2005). Twitter became the focused interest of Java et al (2007). Last but not least, Schrock (2009) took a look at specifically on MySpace. Psychology theories were used frequently as model framework (Ridings & Gefen, 2004; Tedjamulia, et al, 2005; Ling et al., 2005; and Schrock, 2009). Besides that, there are also several theories that come from others field, such as Computer mediated communication(CMC) [Ridings & Gefen, 2004] and Social Network Theory (Java et al., 2007). Because of the used of different framework and methodology, there are various motivations on participation identified in these researchers and only one that similar, which is sharing/exchanging information (Ridings & Gefen, 2004; Tedjamulia, et al. (2005), Java, et al (2007); and Schrock, 2009).
I choose Amazon Kindle discussion forum as an OC to observe. At the time, this information was retrieved (February 12, 2011 – 1:11 PM), there 1,023 discussions topic with 4 current announcements. All of these 4 current announcements have more than 50 posts. I choose Announcement about “Kindle Book Lending Now available”, because this is the top discussion, in which has 252 new posts since the last time I visited the site, last week. I reached 62 posted from February 7, 2011 until February 12, 2011 (1:27 HST). The majority of posts were replies to other comments, 45 out of 62 posts. In total, 21 posts rated. As many as 15 posts rated as adds to the discussion and 6 posts rated as not add to the discussion. From prior post, the administrator will hide the posts which were considered not adds to the discussion. As a replacement, the administrator will show this statement, “Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion?” If you want to see the post you can click on the link which said, “Show post anyway.” From the discussion that I retrieved, there are no posts hide by the administrator. There was one post edited by the participant after initial post. Moreover, there was one post deleted. Majority posting were talked about technical problems on using Kindle rather than about the initial topic, lending book functionality on Kindle. Some participants showed their expertise experiences on using Kindle by answering lots of other users concerns or questions. Only two topics with the highest frequency that I consider highly related to the initial announcement. First is the time of lending Kindle Books (14 days). Second is concern on does this feature can be used on older generation Kindle-readers, the second generation.
According to Tedjamulia et al. (2005), gifts, social recognition, and feedback are an effective method of extrinsic reinforcement. For classroom discussion, usually to driven the students on active participation, the instructor have to give a clear instruction and follow with given them a grade or credits. Asking questions and requested students to post their answers as replies to the initial posting are other methods on improving participation. In the business driven OCs, for a particular occasion, business owners implement the extrinsic reinforcement by giving a draw presents, discounts, gifts or special offer to their returning loyalty customers.
By giving extrinsic reinforcement, participants are reminded with their uniqueness as the member of the OCs (Ling, et al., 2005). This is an effective way to touch the feeling of participants. They will proud with recognition given by the community through their unique participation. How do you feel if you receive a calendar with your name on printed on it and congratulation from the OC that you have become the most active member in the prior year? You must be feeling proud of that and tend to be more active in the coming year.
Lastly, I would like to try to look at the relevancy of motivation of participation on Twitter (Java, et al, 2009) and MySpace (Schrock, 2009) with the OCs that I choose to be analyze in this blog. One of the motivations of participation on Twitter relates with motivation on participation on WiZiQ, Wall, and Amazon Kindle Discussion Forum is sharing information and URLs. Furthermore, from paper about MySpace, one of the motivations of participation related is about the self-efficacy of users on using computer.
To conclude this post, I would like to propose several variables for future research on motivation to participation in OCs. Regarding to extrinsic reinforcement (Tedjamulia et al., 2005), and reminding of the user uniqueness (Ling et al., 2005) there are 3 major variables can be pull out. Those variables are the process of moderating, post rating, and post flagging. It is also important to look at how the environment of the site influenced the motivation to participate (Tedjamulia, et al., 2005). Navigational features and additional interactivity tabs (permalink, report abuse, and ignore this customer function, examples from Kindle Discussion Forum) can make a sense for users that people are paying attention to their participation. Leader participant is another variable which must be considered. Leader participant is the person who posting regularly on the OC and acting as expertise for other participants. Getting help/support from this leader participant can be motivation for people to go back to the site for posting when they stuck with their problem.
Ridings, Catherine, and Gefen. (2004). Virtual Community Attraction: Why People Hang Out Online. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 10(1).
Ling, K., G. Beenen, P. Ludford, X. Wang, K. Chang, X. Li, D. Cosley, D. Frankowski, L. Terveen, A.M. Rashid, P. Resnick and R. Kraut (2005). Using Social Psychology to Motivate Contributions to Online Communities. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10(4), article 10.
Tedjamulia, Steven J.J., David R. Olsen, Douglas L. Dean, Conan C. Albrecht (2005). Motivating Content Contributions to Online Communities: Toward a More Comprehensive Theory. Proceedings of the 38th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.
Schrock, Andrew (2009). Examining Social Media Usage: Technology Clusters and Social Network Site Membership. First Monday 14(1). http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2242/2066
Java, Akshay, Xiaodan Song, Tim Finin and Belle Tseng (2007). Why We Twitter: Understanding the Microblogging Effect in User Intentions and Communities. Joint 9th WEBKDD and 1st SNA-KDD Workshop, 12 August 2007, San Jose, California. http://workshops.socialnetworkanalysis.info/websnakdd2007/papers/submission_21.pdf
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