Purpose – This paper aims to report on research investigating the benefits of membership of the online community LiveJournal, for both active and non‐active participants (lurkers). It also aims to build on and develop previous research on this topic in a new context and to present some alternative perspectives on how lurking is understood by both active participants and lurkers themselves. Design/methodology/approach – Data were gathered using an online questionnaire made available to members of two different LiveJournal communities. Findings – The data indicate that both active participants and lurkers receive similar benefits from their membership of LiveJournal in terms of their sense of community and satisfaction with experience of the community. The percentage of lurkers who felt a sense of community and high levels of satisfaction was lower than that of the respondents who posted regularly to the community, but nonetheless represented the majority of the lurkers. The majority of overall respondents said that lurkers are members of the community, in contrast to earlier research in this area. Social implications – The research contributes to an understanding of the fast‐developing world of online communities, including individuals' reasons for joining and participating in communities. Originality/value – The research builds on an earlier research in a new context; the findings present a different, developing understanding of how non‐active participants are viewed as part of the community of LiveJournal.
Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 18, 2012
Keywords: Social networking; Social networks; Blogs; Online community; Lurking; Online research; Communities
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