Alexandra Mack

Studying physical processes in the virtual world. Online forums and mail packages

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Participation, community creation, research context

Virtual communities can form around decidedly physical events and processes. This study focuses on research conducted online to understand the sending and receiving of mail and packages. This experience afforded a chance to reflect on community at several levels and from different points of view. One aspect involved the researcher's experience in moving between the communities—beginning as a lurker on open forums to understand the landscape of issues discussed, moving to a community member, and then "creating" a community of diary participants. Another aspect was that of the community member moving between contexts—of online and offline activity, as well as online community participation versus online research participation.

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