Title: Enhancing the understanding of genres of web-based communities: the role of the ecological cognition framework

Authors: Jonathan Bishop

Addresses: Centre for Research into Online Communities and E-Learning Systems, Glamorgan Blended Learning Ltd, The GTi Suite, Valleys Innovation Centre, Navigation Park, Abercynon, Wales, CF45 4SN, UK

Abstract: Web-based communities have been an interest of social science researchers since the dawn of the millennium. To date, much research into them has focused on the methods to enhance community building and understand those who do not participate in community life, known as lurkers. This paper explores web-based communities as a type of media, classifying types of web-based community such as message boards, chat groups and weblogs as genres. A methodology is proposed based on the Ecological Cognition Framework (ECF) for reading these web-based communities in order to determine their genre and subgenre. Utilising both quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the images, text and other artefacts in these web-based communities, two specific subgenres of the weblogs and directories genre emerge as the political blog and the mommy blog and these are compared with the significant differences that are found between them that make them solid subgenres.

Keywords: virtual communities; genre theory; ecological cognition; web-based communities; online communities; classification; message boards; chat groups; weblogs; blogs; genres; subgenres.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2009.021558

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2009 Vol.5 No.1, pp.4 - 17

Published online: 30 Nov 2008 *

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