The emergence of a public good through online social capital activation

Catherine Demangeot, Kizhekepat Sankaran

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This paper examines how consumers activate online social capital, characterizes the resources
which they elicit, and considers of the resulting good’s properties. Content analysis of the
initial posts of 975 publicly available threads of an online community reveals six forms of
activation, based on whether the activator seeks convergent or divergent responses; and seeks
factual information or subjective viewpoints, or mobilizes action. The findings suggest that
the network is used in three ways: to (1) source a ‘rare’ resource possessed by at least one
member, (2) generate a form of consensus among several members, or (3) combine the
divergent resources possessed by different members into a ‘knowledge or action bank’.
Hence, the network may be used in a search for ‘unity’ or ‘additively’. An emergent, public
good develops in the process. Of particular value for a public good is the unfolding richness
that comes from the diversity of resources.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventANZMAC Conference - Adelaide , Australia
Duration: 3 Dec 20125 Dec 2012


ConferenceANZMAC Conference


  • online communities
  • online social capital
  • public goods
  • content analysis
  • social media
  • social networks
  • social capital

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