Title: We learn from each other: exploring interpersonal communications in online communities

Authors: Bo Liang; Debra L. Scammon

Addresses: Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government, Saint Vincent College, USA ' Department of Marketing, David Eccles School of Business, University of Utah, USA

Abstract: This study investigates the extent to which a participant's prior engagement with other participants predicts the likelihood of this participant's responsiveness to another participant in a later discussion. Further, this study explores the extent to which the content of this participant's reply to another participant demonstrates progress towards advanced learning. This study investigates replies in a diabetes online community using data from ten threads with 431 replies and 209 unique visitors. A mix of qualitative and quantitative methods are used. Results show that a participant, who has more prior engagement with other participants, is more likely to respond to another participant in a later discussion. A participant's reply to another participant contains more content indicating advanced learning. These findings imply that enhancing online community members' interpersonal communications can help transform these members into active social learners, who in turn, benefit the whole community by posting knowledge-based messages.

Keywords: online communities; social learning; group identity; interpersonal bond; text analysis.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2018.10015402

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2018 Vol.14 No.3, pp.289 - 302

Accepted: 24 Apr 2018
Published online: 20 Sep 2018 *

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