Methods of Research in Virtual Communities

Methods of Research in Virtual Communities

Stefano Pace (Bocconi University, Italy)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-561-0.ch084
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Abstract

The Internet has developed from an informative medium to a social environment where people meet together, exchanging messages and emotions and establishing friendships and social relationships. While the Internet was originally conceived as a commercial marketspace (Rayport & Sviokla, 1994) with new opportunities for both firms and customers (Alba, Lynch, Weitz, Janiszevski, Lutz, Sawyer, & Wood, 1997), nowadays the social side of the Web is a central phenomenon to truly understand the Internet. Social gratification is among the most relevant motivations to go online (Stafford & Stafford, 2001). People socialise through the Internet, adding a third motivation to their online activity, other that the pleasure of surfing in itself (the “flow experience” described by Hoffman and Novak, 1996) and the usefulness of finding information.

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