Using narratives as tools for channeling participation in online communities
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As online communities (OCs), each with unique characteristics and dynamics, proliferate on the Internet, the question of what makes some more successful than others, in terms of engagement and participation, certainly merits research attention. Scholars have argued that these communities use narratives to keep members engaged and to channel participation in their various activities, so this research aimed to evaluate if narratives play a significant role in this matter. Members of an OC were invited to participate in an online survey (n = 2028) and three hypotheses about sense of community, participation in culture formation and participation in community successes were tested. Results show that narratives play a significant role in participatory behavior. Specifically, it was found that narratives play two roles: first, as an amplifier of membership and shared values in the effects each of these have in participation; and second, as a mediator between both needs fulfillment and influence and shared emotional connection, and participation. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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