An empirical study of critical mass and online community survival

Daphne R. Raban, Mihai Moldovan, Quentin Jones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is general consensus that critical mass at inception ensures the sustained success of online communities. However, no clear understanding of what constitutes such a 'critical mass' exists and too few quantitative studies have been conducted into the relationship between initial online community interaction and its longer term success to draw any conclusions. In this paper we start to address this gap through a large-scale study of the relationship between IRC chat channel survival and initial chat channel community interactions. A sample 282 chat channel births was used for survival analysis which explored the relationship between the overall user activity in each channel at its inception and the channel's life expectancy. Significant relationships were observed between online community lifespan and critical mass measures: 1) message volume, 2) user population heterogeneity and 3) production functions. The results lend support to the Critical Mass Theory of collective action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2010 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW 2010
Pages71-80
Number of pages10
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 20 2010
Event2010 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW 2010 - Savannah, GA, United States
Duration: Feb 6 2010Feb 10 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW

Other

Other2010 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySavannah, GA
Period2/6/102/10/10

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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