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Insider and Outsider Accounts in Online Communities

The next speaker at Social Media and Society is Shih-Yun Chen, who focusses on online communities. Such communities are used to connect, share information, and give mutual support; and it important to understand the participant roles that emerge in such communities, what content they contribute, and how this affects the sustainability of a community. This study focusses on these patterns in the context of knowledge sharing and social events.

The study focussed on a 7,000-post discussion thread that unfolded between 2007 and 2015 on a car-related forum in Taiwan. This identified a range of insider and outsider accounts, defined in part by their participation in knowledge-sharing, and by the insider accounts being frequently mentioned in posts by outsiders. Others serve as go-between connecting the groups.

Such analysis can identify the hidden influencers in online communities. Hidden influencers who contribute to knowledge-sharing are especially important.