[Air-L] user generated content, motivation to post

Jorgen Skageby jorsk at ida.liu.se
Wed Feb 3 02:33:29 PST 2010

Yes! I also think it is important to acknowledge aspects of context when
looking at motivations for contributing. Simply asking "why do people
contribute to online communities/networks/pools of knowledge" can be
misleading. To me, motivations are closely related to other apects of the
context. So to rephrase the question (by borrowing from gift-giving theory),
I think it could be:

"what is given/contributed to whom, how and why"

where "why" is dependent on the other parts of the question above.

What - the characteristics/values of digital goods
To whom - the types of relationships involved
How - the sociotechnical means for contributing at hand
Why - the motivation

Possibly the question could be elaborated to include "who", "where" and
"when" as well.

Also, to follow up on the differences between anonymous and identified
contributions, I think there are a number of dimensions that can be
fruitfully explored in relation to specific tools and contexts for online
contributions (i.e. "how"):

Identification (anonymous to identified)
Limitation (open to restricted)
Incentive (enforced to voluntary)
Direction (private to public)
Initiative (passive to active)

In my mind the concepts above are poles at the ends of a continuum. Thus, it
becomes particularly interesting to examine how users, who change
preferences, engage with sociotechnical features in order (try) to move from
one pole to the other. Notably, the dimensions above are only an initital
number - there are certainly more that could be applied.

Kind regards
Jorgen Skageby

Post-doctoral Research Fellow
Dept. of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMK)
Stockholm University

> From: Zeynep Tufekci <socnetres at gmail.com>
> Reply-To: <socnetres at gmail.com>
> Date: Tue, 2 Feb 2010 20:22:39 -0500
> To: AIR <air-l at listserv.aoir.org>
> Subject: Re: [Air-L] user generated content, motivation to post
> Is the thinking that motivations for commenting on products and services
> differ significantly from motivations for other types of online
> participation? Many product evaluation systems are social environments; a
> few are not. I doubt that same kinds of people populate both to same degree.
> It might not be a good idea to lump them together.
> An interesting tack might be to compare systems that allow for identity and
> reputation development with  those that are truly anonymous -- where there
> is no handle with which to develop an identity.
> -z
> -- 
> Zeynep Tufekci, Ph.D.
> Department of Sociology and Anthropology
> University of Maryland, Baltimore County
> 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD
> zeynep at umbc.edu @techsoc
> http://www.technosociology.org

More information about the Air-L mailing list