Designing social technologies: the impact of the social proxy in an online community.

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Menegon, Miles (2008) Designing social technologies: the impact of the social proxy in an online community. Honours thesis, Victoria University.

Abstract

This paper will present the preliminary results of a study that seeks to determine the impact of a social proxy on user participation in an online community. The online community exists within a web-based communication environment developed by the author. Whittaker (1998) shows that online communities are typically driven by a small number of highly active users. He suggests that the frequent interaction of these users is crucial to the participation of the passive users who 'lurk,' or benefit from the community's knowledgebase without contributing to it themselves. The perception or visibility of user activity in an online community is, therefore, an important determinant of overall member participation and engagement. Social proxies play an important role in communicating this activity. This paper asks whether the absence of a social proxy in an online community negatively impacts on user participation levels. Participation is determined by the amount of time a user is actively logged in and by the number of synchronous and asynchronous messages he or she posts to the system.

Item type Thesis (Honours thesis)
URI http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/15898
Official URL http://workbot.com.au/honsba/index.html
Subjects Current > FOR Classification > 0806 Information Systems
Current > Division/Research > Other
Current > FOR Classification > 1203 Design Practice and Management
Keywords Social technologies, online communities, social proxy, user participation, web-based communication
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