Antecedents of Trust in Online Communities

Antecedents of Trust in Online Communities

Catherine M. Ridings, David Gefen
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-553-5.ch024
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Online virtual communities have existed on the Internet since the early 1980s as Usenet newsgroups. With the advent of the World Wide Web and emphasis on Web site interactivity, these communities and accompanying research have grown rapidly (Horrigan, Rainie, & Fox, 2001; Lee, Vogel, & Limayem, 2003; Petersen, 1999). Virtual communities arise as a natural consequence of people coming together to discuss a common hobby, medical affliction, or other similar interest, such as coin collecting, a devotion to a rock group, or living with a disease such as lupus. Virtual communities can be defined as groups of people with common interests and practices that communicate regularly and for some duration in an organized way over the Internet through a common location or site (Ridings, Gefen, & Arinze, 2002). The location is the “place” where the community meets, and it can be supported technologically by e-mail listservs, newsgroups, bulletin boards, or chat rooms, for example. The technology helps to organize the community’s conversation, which is the essence of the community. For example, messages in a community supported by a listserv are organized in e-mails, sometimes even grouping together several messages into an e-mail digest. In bulletin board communities, the conversation is organized into message threads consisting of questions or comments posted by members and associated replies to the messages.

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