Searching for the ‘You’ in ‘YouTube’: An Analysis of Online Response Ability

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Enthusiasm for adding sociality to Web sites is mounting. Yet, the YouTube experience shows that participation in social networking sites is complex and potentially contentious. Meaningful participation in part depends upon participants’ ability to respond to others and contribute to a site. While some participants demand more active involvement from administrators to create a safe and encouraging environment, others view intensive regulation as impairing their individual response ability to communicate with others and contribute. Discussions about adequate participation inevitably lead to a consideration of administrators’ responsibility for creating an environment that provides sufficient opportunities for widespread and diverse participation. Before embarking on creating a community or adding intensive social networking components that may be monetized to a site, administrators should think carefully about the challenges that will likely ensue as participants become more passionate about the community and consequently make demands that seek contradictory optimal participatory environments.

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