Meyer, Reader, Carey publish two papers on lurkers, with more to come
Profs. Hans Meyer and Bill Reader want u 2 lurk MOAR. It would help them greatly with their research, which has largely attempted to understand how Internet forums develop a Sense of Virtual Community, or SOVC.
The research is a collaboration between Prof. Meyer and Prof. Jeremy Littau. His friend and colleague from Lehigh University. It focused on the habits of lurkersindividuals who surf comment boards without contributing verbally to the discussion.
In Internet lingo, it is often recommended that an individual surfing a comment-board lurk moar, so that they can better understand the norms and codesboth written and unwrittenespoused by the given community.
Not all online groups develop into online communities, says the paper titled, The Role of Online Norms in the Development of a Sense of Virtual Community. The paper, co-authored by Profs. Meyer and Carey, deals with the habits and behaviors employed by members of online groups and communities, respectively.
One of the big uncertainties about lurkers, Meyer said, is what percentage lurk and what percentage comment and what percentage lurk. There are studies that say there are benefits to lurking; you learn the rules of the forum, you get information. Sometimes you dont really want to be involved; all you want to do is glean information.
Prof.. Meyer called the results of the study a rich data set, which presented a good representation of the nation and of the attitude toward comments at the end of news stories. Were currently using that data in a number of different ways.
Using findings from the study, Prof. Meyer was able to write three papers with former Ph.D candidate Michael Clay Carey, who is now a professor at Samford University.
The studies are titled as follows:
- Authors, Writers, Posters, Lurkers: How Comment-Forum Users conceptualize anonymity, privacy, accountaibility, and civility
- The Role of Online Norms in the Development of a Sense of Virtual Community,
- Opinion Leaders or Cranks? Exploring the key differences between participants and lurkers in online newspaper comment forums