Rosen, D., Woelfel, J., Krikorian, D., & Barnett, G. A. (2003). Procedures for Analyses of Online Communities. JCMC, 8 (4). Available at http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol8/issue4/rosen.html
Williams, D. (2006). On and off the 'net: Scales for social capital in an online era. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11(2), article 11.
Ling, k., Beenen, G., Ludford, P., Wang, X., Change, K., Li, X., Cosley, D. Frakowski, D., Terveen, L., Rashid, A.M., Resnick, P., & Kraut, R. (2005). Using Social Psychology to Motivate Contributions to Online Communities. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 10(4).
Rosan, et. al. (2003)
This paper started with a comprehensive review of research methods scholars have been using to study online communities on social aspects and structure of online interaction, spatial movement, nature of users' coordination, impression, and emotions. Rosen et. al. studied the phenomena of online non-threaded interaction, specifically chat-room conversation. The tool they used for the study is Catpac(TM) package. They chose SciCenter, a three-dimension online environment, to carry out their study. the purpose of SciCenter is to provide cyberspace playground for teens to create knowledge space in after-school programs. Data showed that mentor for the conversation dominated the interaction. According to the semantic network analysis, there was obvious gender difference in the content of chatting record. But one thing was shared by both males and females participants: their interest in scientific research seems to increase in three-dimension virtual world.
Noticing that the Internet accomodates different way of social interaction with a parallel and conjunct manner with offline life, Williams proposed a framework based on social capital (SC) to measure bridging and bonding for online and offline contexts. The scale he introduced was Internet Social Capital Scale, or ISCS. In this study, Williams treated social capital as outcome. In this article, Williams criticized that the perception and research approach for old media like TV is not applicable to Internet which is interactive and mobile in nature as a communication channel. Williams developed a two-dimension scale pairing bridging & bonding, and online & offline. He used criteria based on Putnam's work (2000) to develop bridging SC measurement. The criteria are: 1) outward looking; 2) contact with a broader range of people; 3) a view of oneself as part of a broader group; 4) diffuse reciprocity with a broader community. Also he discussed criteria used for developing bonding SC measurement as: 1) emotional support; 2) access to scarce or limited resources; 3) ability to mobilize solidarity; 4) out-group antagonism. Here is the list of final scale item (* adapted from Cohen & Hoberman, 1983).
1. There are several people online/offline I trust to help solve my problem.*
2. There is someone online/offline I can turn to for advice about making very important decisions.*
3. There is no one online/offline that I feel comfortable talking to about intimate personal problems. (reversed)*
4. When I feel lonely, there are several people online/offline I can talk to.
5. If I needed an emergency loan of $500, I know someone online/offline I can turn to.*
6. The people I interact with online/offline would put their reputation on the line for me.
7. The people I interact with online/offline would be good job references for me.
8. The people I interact with online/offline would share their last dollar with me.
9. I do not know people online/offline well enough to get them to do anything important. (reversed)
10. The people I interact with online/offline would help me fight an injustice.
1. Interacting with people online/offline makes me interested in things that happen outside of my town.
2. Interacting with people online/offline makes me want to try new things.
3. Interacting with people online/offline makes me interested in what people unlike me are
4. Talking with people online/offline makes me curious about other places in the world.
5. Interacting with people online/offline makes me feel like part of a larger community.
6. Interacting with people online/offline makes me feel connected to the bigger picture.
7. Interacting with people online/offline reminds me that everyone in the world is connected.
8. I am willing to spend time to support general online/offline community activities.
9. Interacting with people online/offline gives me new people to talk to.
10. Online/Offline, I come in contact with new people all the time.Williams proved the validity and reliability of the scales by using a sample of 884 volunteers dominated by white males across the US. Williams discussed that the entry and exit SC cost for all Internet communities is relatively lower than offline ones. This help to partially explain why people turn to online community. At the end Williams proposed some potential problems that ISCS can help to explore, such as Do online groups provide the same kinds of psychological, emotional, and practical support as their real-world counterparts, even without the power of face-to-face interactions? Do Internet users feel the kinds of reciprocal bonds that would lead them to contribute to their online communities?
Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Cohen, S., & Hoberman, H. M. (1983). Positive events and social supports as buffers of life change stress. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 13 (2), 99-125.
Ling, et. al. (2005)
Ling et. al. investigated the contribution for online communities using social psychological theories, especially social loafing and goal-setting. I agree with their vision that online activities are part of social phenomena. Social psychology is primarily a behavioral science. Its goal is to determine unambiguously the causes for social phenomena and explain them. I think this article started with a strong rationale to interpret the phenomena of online communities with social psychological lens. This current study was an integration of four field experiments. The hypotheses of the four experiments are:
People will contribute more to an online community when they think their contributions are likely to be unique and when they like the community more. (supported)
Users will contribute more when the personal benefit or the benefit they provided to the community is salient as a result of their contribution. (supported)
Members' contribution will increase more if they receive messages that enhancing the salience of intrinsic motivation compared to members who receive messages that do not enhance the salience of intrinsic motivation. (not supported)
Members with assigned challenging/specific numeric goals (supported) or individual goals (not supported) will contribute more (rate more movies) compared to members with non-specific goals or group goals.
- members with exceedingly difficult specific goals will contribute less than the ones with difficult specific goals. (weakly supported)
What do you see as *the* most important impediment or problem for online socializing?
My answer could be limited, because I do not have many experiences of online socializing. The answer is more like prediction. Actually, Akesha raised many good points for problems of online socializing (http://msucep956.blogspot.com/). I have one more thought to add to the list.
The most important problem for online socializing could be the lack of authority. I mean there is no structure or social resources to help people to trust the information they get, the individuals they encounter online, or the relationship they have online. As Williams discussed in his article, the cost of social capital to entry or exit the online community is much lower than in offline ones. It is easier for individuals to join online community and get involved on their call. Individuals have bridging experience more than bonding experience in online experiences. I doubt people can really get bonding experience in online community. Even it happens, it should be experience extended from a relationship from offline life. The authority line vanishes in online community. Even though there are administrators in online community for either technology support or community regulation, they have less power affect online socializing. In a community with less orders, socializing could have a ceiling effect because of the lack of trust. I see this is the most important problem for online socializing.
My questions from the readings and questions for Discussion in class: