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The key is not to forget to be awesome: an analysis of the use of narratives as tools for channeling participation in online communities

Leyton Escobar, M. (2013) The key is not to forget to be awesome: an analysis of the use of narratives as tools for channeling participation in online communities.

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Abstract:Online communities continue to be an interesting topic of study as each of them is as unique as the other, meaning that each of them develops unique dynamics of interaction and ways of accomplishing goals. Still, there are certain dynamics that may be more successful than others that are worth noticing and understanding in order to be able to replicate. With that in mind, this research aimed to evaluate what role narratives play in the participatory behavior of members of specific online community. First, a theoretical framework of how narratives serve as building blocks for culture and about how culture is defined in online communities was established; along with a theoretical background in online communities, their typology, and a previously proposed premise about how narratives help channel participation. Then, members of an online community were invited to participate in an online survey, and over 2,000 responses were obtained. Statistical and content analysis were both performed. Three hypotheses about sense of community, participation in culture formation and participation in community successes were tested, and a model was created that supports the role of narratives in participation. The qualitative data served to support the proposed model. It was concluded that narratives do 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. Implications about the importance of choosing the right narratives for channeling participation and creating culture are discussed.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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