Do we speak the same language?: design goals and culture clashes in an online forum for young people
ACM Press, New York
This is a case study exploring the social scene created on a newly-developed online service for increasing the study motivation of 16--18-year-old students in vocational education in Finland. The developers wished to motivate participation by the addition of a communal chat space to engender a sense of community on the site. The analysis shows that the students appropriated the communal chat space for uses in line with their prior experience of online interaction, while the developers had based their design on a very different experience. However, the developers were able to respond flexibly to encourage interaction rather than limiting topics of conversation to those desired in the original design. As a result, the communal page could be seen to fulfil some of the expectations of the developers in unexpected ways. The case offers learning points for developers and administrators who wish to create online social spaces with a particular aim.