Title: Interaction in web-based communities: a case study of Last.fm

Authors: Peter Mechant, Tom Evens

Addresses: MICT-IBBT, Ghent University, Korte Meer 7-9-11, 9000 Gent, Belgium. ' MICT-IBBT, Ghent University, Korte Meer 7-9-11, 9000 Gent, Belgium

Abstract: Interaction is omnipresent in the discourse on new communication technologies and social network sites. Although quantitative numeric data on the use of social networking sites is plentiful, present research lacks qualitative data describing how these websites are used and experienced. This article describes research on the online experiences and interactions by Last.fm users. Last.fm is a website combining a music recommendation service, an online community and an online radio. We conducted in-depth face-to-face interviews with Last.fm users and observed their Last.fm profiles. Based on the aggregated data we suggest that most people use Last.fm as a tool, interacting heavily with the website itself, but much less with music. Interaction amongst Last.fm users seems to be sparse and superficial. Nevertheless, some respondents reported a |sense of community| and referred to Last.fm as a tavern where one can converse about music, suggesting similarities with Ray Oldenburg|s |third places| or |great good places|.

Keywords: social network sites; music recommendation services; Web 2.0; internet; Last.fm; affordances; user interaction; social networking; web based communities; virtual communities; online communities; sense of community.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2011.039513

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2011 Vol.7 No.2, pp.234 - 249

Available online: 06 Apr 2011 *

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