Interpreting Soap Operas and Creating Community: Inside an Electronic Fan Culture
Baym, Nancy K. (1997) Interpreting soap operas and creating community: Inside an electronic fan culture. Culture of the Internet. Sara Kiesler, Ed. Newbury Park: Sage. 79-94.
Baym explores functional aspects of virtual communities through ethnography of the r.a.t.s usenet usegroup. Among the features explored are community linguistic and politeness norms, emerging discussion genres, and group performance expectations. Her discussion of group performance evaluation (111) is applicable to blogs: participants compliment skilled performance through responses, explicit praise, and thanks. In turn, social capital is gained by demonstrating "humor, insight, distinctive personality, and politeness" (112). Through this study, Baym confirms that virtual communities demonstrate many of the same features as f2f communities, and are just as complex, interwoven, and personalized (119).