This study examines virtual community quality through sociolinguistics theory. According to sociolinguistics, in oral discourse men communicate to establish superior social standing, while women communicate with the undertone of rapport, compassion, and empathy. The study shows that these differences carry over to the asynchronous written environment of virtual communities and affect men's and women's respective perceptions of community quality. Women go to virtual communities to give and to get social support and have a more favorable assessment of the capability of others. This pattern generally holds even when comparing mostly single-gender communities and mixed-gender communities. However, a closer look at these differences reveals a more complex picture, with undertones in mixed-gender communities being less than in their respective mostly single-gender communities.
ACM SIGMIS Database – acm
Published: Jun 7, 2005
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