Title: Status and influence in virtual communities: an examination of interactions between followers of a video blog

Authors: Julie Z. Sneath

Addresses: University of South Alabama, MCOB #359, Mobile, AL 36688, USA

Abstract: It is important for organisations to understand why their customers participate in virtual communities, the groups in which they participate, and the interactions that occur. This information can offer insight into how social media might be used to build brands and strengthen marketing communications programs. Although groups are comprised of members who strive to belong, individuals also have a fundamental need to distinguish themselves from others. Using blog entries submitted over a nine-week period by followers of a Ustream.tv live broadcast of Shiba Inu puppies, the research examines motives for participation, and identifies sources of differentiation within the group and their relationship to status and attempts to influence others. Evidence of subgroups is found, and comments posted by members suggest the potential for influence in messages that are not company-initiated.

Keywords: virtual communities; video blogs; optimal distinctiveness theory; ODT; participation motivation; ethics; lurkers; social identity; status; influence; Wordle; online communities; web based communities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIMA.2012.046254

International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, 2012 Vol.7 No.2, pp.157 - 179

Available online: 21 Mar 2012 *

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