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File sharing beyond grabbing and running: Exploring the sense of community in a peer-to-peer file sharing network
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics.
2015 (English)In: Convergence. The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, ISSN 1354-8565, E-ISSN 1748-7382, Vol. 21, no 4, 437-449 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examines how a file sharing system affects its users’ sense of community (SOC). It was expected that the file sharing system would increase members’ knowledge about and participation in the file sharing network which, in turn, would increase their SOC. The aim of this study was to identify the barriers that hinder community building in file sharing networks, by examining how use of a specific network – Direct Connect++ (DC++) – affects its users’ SOC. It was our hypothesis and expectation that extended use of file sharing system would increase members’ knowledge about, and participation in, the file sharing network, and this in turn would increase their SOC. However, although DC++ was found to have a number of properties that coincide with the theories of SOC, two barriers were found that hindered DC++ from working as a genuine community. These barriers were related to anonymity and elitism among community members. The findings challenge previous idealistic theories about the development of an SOC but nonetheless demonstrate the positive effects of network membership.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 21, no 4, 437-449 p.
Keyword [en]
File sharing, information and communications technologies, Internet, peer-to-peer, sense of community
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-110034DOI: 10.1177/1354856514526314ISI: 000369731600004OAI: diva2:860567
Available from: 2015-10-13 Created: 2015-10-13 Last updated: 2016-03-16Bibliographically approved

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