Once connected to the Internet, there is a myriad of virtual communities that an individual can connect to, interact within and become a member of. However, little is known about the processes individuals employ in identifying, selecting, and interacting within these virtual communities. How does an individual decide which type of virtual environment they will use? What are the stages that individuals go through in their use of virtual communities? Do the stages of use vary across types of virtual communities? In this article, we examine these questions, focusing on stages of use of individual virtual communities within the larger context of patterns of Internet use over time. First, we examine predictors of the type of virtual environments that an individual might use, highlighting the impact of demographic factors, personality, history, and location of Internet use. Then we draw on our own research to examine stages of use of two types of synchronous text-based virtual environments. Finally, we develop a generic model of stages of use of virtual environments.
|Title of host publication||Encyclopedia of Virtual Communities and Technologies|
|Place of Publication||Hershey, PA|
|Number of pages||8|
|ISBN (Electronic)||9781591407973, 159140797|
|ISBN (Print)||9781591405634, 1591405637|
|Publication status||Published - 2005|