Bishop, J. (2011). Transforming Lurkers into Posters: The Role of The Participation Continuum. In: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Internet Technologies and Applications (ITA’11), Glyndwr Univeristy, Wrexham, September 2011.
Encouraging participation has long been seen as a way additional to new technology of helping online communities to grow. Online community sysops may well advertise their website on other service platforms, but with up to 90% of the visitors to their site being non-participants, referred to as lurkers, they could do no better than improving their website to tackle lurker fears. This paper presents the ‘participation continuum’ for understanding why some users are posters, and do participate, and why others are lurkers, and do not contribute. The paper considers the fears of reluctant lurkers to participation and shows how as a result of trying to resolve the incongruence between wanting to post but fearing the consequences they will often be stagnant in a state of rationalization, giving excuses for non-participation. Through intellectualizing after being provided with new evidence from sysops, they begin to mediate towards enhancement where their participation will increase. The determined lurkers are quite happy lurking, and preserving non participation, and therefore need more help to bridge the ‘Preece Gap’ between where they are currently participating and where they could be with more help.
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