How Deep Does the Rabbithole Go? An Analysis of the Structure and Evolution of Virtual Communities

University essay from Sektionen för Informationsvetenskap, Data– och Elektroteknik (IDE)

Abstract: This paper gives an account of a study regarding virtual communities, and tries to answer the question of which aspects that contribute towards the growth and success of a community. The purpose of the study has been twofold: to survey and identify factors that are important for the success of a virtual community; and to investigate whether there are differences in the views of success factors between leaders and members in a virtual community. The study is based upon a theoretical framework which gives a definition of the term virtual community, and how experts suggest these congregations are built. In the study is also included an extensive case study of two virtual communities. Finally, a discussion is made regarding the results of the study, and it is concluded that factors such as purpose, policies, trust, feedback and leaders are heavily contributing towards the success of virtual communities.

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