Lend me sugar, I am your neighbor!: a content analysis of online forums for local communities
ACM Press, New York
A variety of online tools have grown as platforms to encourage community development among neighbors. In a study of 22 online forums for local communities, we explored how the content shared on these systems reflects their contribution to their goal of community development and, at the same time, how it affects their sustainability as information systems. Our results show that local forums are primarily used to mobilize resources from local residents. Many mobilization requests seem to rely on users' offline connections, which considerably change the patterns of users' interaction online. These characteristics speak to how the interplay of offline and online connections introduce new challenges and opportunities to maintain thriving online platforms for local communities. Our paper reports on these issues and discusses their implications for the development and study of participatory technologies for community development.
content, design, hyper-local, local systems, mobilization requests, social capital, urban informatics