Electronic Commerce Research

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 7–20 | Cite as

Non-public and public online community participation: Needs, attitudes and behavior

  • Blair Nonnecke
  • Dorine Andrews
  • Jenny Preece


Nonpublic participation within an online community, often called lurking, occurs when an individual joins a community, but does not post. This study examines the nature of lurking, why people lurk and the differences in attitudes between lurkers and posters. The results indicate significant differences between people who lurk and those who post in an online community.

We conclude that when people lurk they are observing, which in no way is a negative behavior. This introverted or passive behavior affects lurkers' attitudes about the benefits of the community, their expectations, and opinions of themselves and others who lurk. In general lurkers are less optimistic and less positive than those who post.


Lurking Nonpublic participation Posting Online community Survey Bulletin board 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computing & Information ScienceUniversity of GuelphGuelph
  2. 2.Enterprise Learning SolutionsRWD TechnologiesBaltimore
  3. 3.College of Information StudiesUniversity of MarylandCollege Park

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