Friday, January 30, 2009

Typology of Online User Participation

One of my main research interests and certainly a topic much discussed due to the flowering of social media and Web 2.0, is user participation. But I've been thinking what exactly are all the forms of online user participation? How does participation differ from interaction?

I would define user participation as an act on the part of a user to actively add or share their thoughts, opinion, or experience via online features or tools in an open manner. Interaction to me is an active engagement or customization an online feature or tool, but not leaving any of your own self with it. Participation doesn't have to be public or individual (one's efforts can be rolled into a collective result), but to me it's not something that is done entirely for yourself, so adding a news feed or uploading photos to a site but not sharing them with anyone would not be participation.

Based on my definition (and feel free to disagree with it), here are some forms of online user participation:
  1. Blogging
  2. Microblogging
  3. Status updates and "Wall" posts
  4. Commenting (on a blog, video, review, photograph, etc.)
  5. Discussing via message boards (a.k.a forums)
  6. Reviewing or recommending (eg. a book, movie, travel destination, etc.)
  7. Making lists to share (eg. playlists, favourites, books on Amazon)
  8. Voting (e.g. Digg, site polls, or via "Was this helpful" feature)
  9. Adding name to online petition
  10. Rating (eg. assigning a score to a film, book or review, etc.)
  11. Social bookmarking
  12. Tagging/folksonomies
  13. Creating & uploading videos
  14. Creating & uploading podcasts or online audio
  15. Creating & uploading photographs, stories, artwork, etc.
  16. Sharing (via email, posting to profile, or site forwarding feature, etc.)
  17. Creating or contributing to a website
  18. Contributing to a wiki
  19. Contributing to an online open source project (thanks Mouly)
  20. Friending
  21. Reporting abuse (i.e. self-policing features on sites)
Participate now by letting me know if you can think of any forms I missed...

1 comment:

Mouly said...

How about participating in an open source community