Table of Contents

Comment Icon0 Community Involvement measured the strength of involvement of the participant in offline and online communities modified from the Community and Social Involvement Index (Weiser, 2001). It indicated how active the participant was in the communities to  which the user was a member. Activity would include the collective production of user-generated content as a grassroots trend explained through Habermas’ Public Sphere (1989), Benkler’s Peer Production (2006), and Clay Shirky’s concept of ‘protest culture’ (2008).

Figure 33: Chinese Internet user participation by community genre.

Comment Icon0 According to the survey (see Figure 33), Chinese Internet users who had indicated their tendency to read or discuss specific genres of online content focused on content related to Hobby and Sports (80.6%), their line of Work (53.7%), and Ethnic/Cultural concerns (34.3%). Ranked seventh out of 11 in their engagement level towards online content genres, political concerns (19.7%) did  not appear to be a key use of the Internet for Chinese netizens. However, it was difficult to isolate what counted as political engagement, since politics could also be a topic of discussion under cultural concerns (e.g., government handling of Sichuan earthquake). After all, “Surveillance and Advice” did rank as the second most popular use of the Internet for the Chinese.

Figure 34: Level of online community involvement

Comment Icon0 When asked about a series of statements on how Chinese Internet users felt about their involvement in their online communities (see Figure 34), most felt that they had a sense of belonging in their community (66.7%), an impact on others (60.4%), and some level of significance in their group (60.3%). When asked about the time and energy they spent on their online community, they showed less commitment (54%).

Chapter 9.1.3 – Community Involvement


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