[Air-L] Research on "passive" social media use?

live human.factor.one at gmail.com
Thu Nov 5 09:30:02 PST 2009

Many in the User Centered Design world would say that it is not the  
people that are unwilling, it's the way the technology is built and  
it's current barriers to adoption.
That it's not the users who are intentionally being 'passive' because  
they don't want to interact per se, but because the cost/benefit of  
joining to comment isn't balanced enough for them.

There are many corporate studies (Jared Spool et al), that show that  
users at some point just don't have the energy for yet again one more  
username and password to add to their ever growing list. This cost is  
exponential as 'new apps' continue to show promise, but the  
marketplace is still to young to have real app standards.

This is exactly why the OpenID movement was born. So that users would  
have one username and password for a login wherever they go. Thus  
reducing their cost. And perhaps the benefits would then tilt into  
active participant favour. But so far, I have yet to see that movement  
gain traction.

And I just happen to be one of those 'passive' users. I, for one,  
don't even bother to respond to news articles on my local news's  
website because it requires registration. I will just be active on  
other ways in response - on my blog, in twitter, with a neighbour as  
we rake leaves, with a friend on the phone, etc.

Sharon Greenfield
Digital Ethnographer

On Nov 5, 2009, at 5:13 AM, MARIA AMPARO LASEN DIAZ wrote:

> Hi Mark and everyone,
> Yes, you're right about the undertones of "lurker", and we could  
> talk about the undertones of "passive" too.
> The problem I find for "passive" is that,  reading, watching and  
> listening are forms of participation and forms of interacting with  
> the content. Of course, they are different from the other content  
> productive forms of interaction, but my guess is that by calling  
> ones passive and the other active we are not accounting for what  
> such activities as listening and watching entail, as well as hiding  
> their role in the production of the content, in the way they  
> contribute to shape and to give meaning to what is written, played,  
> displayed, etc.
> All the best
> Amparo

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