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Rick Wash
404 Wilson Rd #402
402 Communication Arts and Sciences
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824

Cell: (734) 730-1188
Office: (517) 355-2381

Motivations to Participate in Online Communities

by: Cliff Lampe, Rick Wash, Alcides Velasquez, and Elif Ozkaya


A consistent theoretical and practical challenge in the design of socio-technical systems is that of motivating users to participate in and contribute to them. This study examines the case of users from the theoretical perspectives of Uses and Gratifications and Organizational Commitment to compare individual versus organizational motivations in user participation. We find evidence that users may continue to participate in a site for different reasons than those that led them to the site. Feelings of belonging to a site are important for both anonymous and registered users across different types of uses. Long-term users felt more dissatisfied with the site than anonymous users. Social and cognitive factors seem to be more important than issues of usability in predicting contribution to the site.


Cliff Lampe, Rick Wash, Alcides Velasquez, and Elif Ozkaya. “Motivations to Participate in Online CommunitiesProceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing (CHI). Atlanta, GA. April 2010.

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