Attributes of Participation in Online Communities among Czech Internet Users

Václav Štětka, David Šmahel

Abstract


In this research paper, we examine the presence and characteristics of online communities in the Czech Republic, with a particular focus on selected socio-demographic (age, gender) and psychological characteristics as well as individual motivations of their participants. According to our findings, about one fifth of Czech Internet users regularly attend at least one online community. There are no significant gender differences in the membership; however, participants differ according to age, with the youngest age groups being the most active in belonging to an online group. We also investigate the question of correlation between the intensity of engagement in online communities, and the quality of their participants’ social life in the “offline world” (measured primarily by the number of online/offline friends and the amount of time spent with them or with their families). Finally, we pay attention to the perceived psychological benefits from belonging to an online group. The analysis, which we present as a pioneer study aimed at the Czech Internet users, is conducted using the data from the World Internet Project, which in 2006 surveyed a representative sample of the Czech population (1710 respondents aged 12+).

Keywords


online communities; Internet use; Czech Republic; participation; gender; age

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS232008189