Online Communities: Usability, Sociabilty, Theory and Methods

  • Jenny Preece


Internet usage doubles every 52 days. Over 18 million people are AOL subscribers - many of whom are attracted by AOL’s emphasis on email, chats, instant messaging and, of course, the Web. Active Worlds, a graphical chat environment, has over a million participants. During the first quarter of 1998, 450 000 messages were posted to 20 000 Usenet groups. The number of people coming online continues to increase as e-commerce, online education, online health, and increasing amounts of information and people with whom to chat entice even more people. Meanwhile, according to Moore’s Law computing power doubles every 18 months. For the well educated, with jobs and Internet stock, the future looks bright. However, the gap continues to broaden between low and high income, and between poorly and well-educated people. There are fears that socializing face-to-face will decline leading to an unprecedented number of lonely, psychologically impoverished people. Better access to successful online communities for all citizens could reduce isolation and improve quality of life for all citizens.


Online Community Universal Access Social Presence Communication Task Revealing Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag London 2001

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  • Jenny Preece

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