Identifying online communities as self-sustaining ecosystems for fulfilling members' needs
The following study shows what current online community members expect of their communities, and how each member plays a vital role in the self-sustaining ecosystem. In the past online communities were self-contained and managed by moderators who would often generate much of the content, and set guidelines for the users within the community. Based on the results of this study members now show that there are two different types of Lurkers (Active and Passive), which make up the majority of all members within a community. Active Lurkers have been identified as those who share content externally and back to their own network, which in return brings new members back to their community. As identified in the study, users must have a motivational need to contribute physically in an online community or; however, having a user's friend already active may increase this potential as well. Based upon the study's results current online community members have established that they should not only be a voice in the evolution of a community, but assist other member types with satisfying their needs or specifically the reason why they joined the online community.
0700: Social structure
0708: Mass communications