Being Online, Living Offline: The Influence of Social Ties over the Appropriation of Social Network Sites

Uploaded on

full paper at CSCW 2008 conference …

full paper at CSCW 2008 conference

Paper abstract:
Research on social network sites has examined how people integrate offline and online life, but with a particular emphasis on their use by friendship groups. We extend earlier work by examining a case in which offline ties are non-existent, but online ties strong. Our case is a study of bodybuilders, who explore their passion with like-minded offline 'strangers' in tightly integrated online communities. We show that the integration of offline and online life supports passion-centric activities, such as bodybuilding.

More in: Technology , Education
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to comment
No Downloads


Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds



Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

    No notes for slide


  • 1. Being Online, Living Offline: The Influence of Social Ties over the Appropriation of Social Network Sites Bernd Ploderer, Steve Howard, Peter Thomas Department of Information Systems The University of Melbourne
  • 2. Overview
    • Background: Bodybuilding and social network sites
    • Research question and study approach
    • Findings and discussion
  • 3. Passion of Bodybuilding
    • Enthusiasm or intense desire for transforming their bodies
      • "Train Big, Eat Big, Sleep Big!”
      • “ The hell of preparation”
    • But also socially isolating
      • “ Shut up and lift!”
  • 4. BodySpace
    • Connects “strangers” around the passion of bodybuilding
      • Personal public profile, contacts & comments
      • Stats, progress pics, training plans
      • Blog, forum, photo gallery, articles & shop
  • 5. Social Network Sites (SNSs)
    • “ Friend-based” SNSs:
      • Organized around people
      • Keep in touch with offline ties (Ellison et al., 2007; Kim & Yun, 2007; Lampe et al., 2006; Joinson 2008)
      • Online and offline “deeply entwined” (boyd & Ellison 2007, p. 223)
    • “ Passion-centric” SNSs
      • Organized around a shared passion
      • No offline ties - connect with “strangers”
      • Relationship between online and offline?
  • 6. Research Question
    • How do people appropriate online and offline resources to support passion-centric activities where offline ties are absent?
  • 7. Field Study
    • Ethnographic approach
      • Observations online and offline
      • Interviews with 10 BodySpace users, and 3 non-users to verify data
      • Duration: 4 months
      • Analysis: Grounded approach (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) using NVivo 7
  • 8. Findings
    • Bodybuilders appropriate the social network site as a…
      • Tool
      • Theatre
      • Community
  • 9. 1. Tool
    • Extends their capabilities
      • Exchange knowledge
      • Monitor progress
      • Comparisons
    “ I used to look at competitors to see some photographs from previous competitions to see any photos from guys in my categories. And then I would say,’ yeah, I think I'll be ok’ or ‘it's going to be hard’. I mainly do that.” (James, 56, interviewed face-to-face) “ Some think bodybuilders overall are dumb or they just talk, are egotistical and vain, narcissistic. But the truth is, you have to be fairly clever about nutrition, you have to be amazingly dedicated as far as training is concerned.” (George, 43, interviewed face-to-face).
  • 10. 2. Theatre
    • Presenting yourself on a stage
      • Self-promotion
      • Appraisal
      • Beyond bodybuilding
    “ Another thing I’ve got to say about BodySpace which I think is the most important thing to most of us - It gives us a place to post our picture for the whole world to see. Bodybuilders need to be noticed. It feeds our muscle ego; it motivates us.” (John, 28, via Email)
  • 11. 3. Community
    • Public discussions … to form webs of personal relationships
      • Friendships and belonging
      • Social support
      • Values
    “ well we are never happy with our bodies...we always want more and more...but you got more potential then you think...” (online comment left on the profile of John, 28) “ On BodySpace everyone is there together for the same purpose. (…) And I find that a great way to find people with the same goals and aspirations.” (Mario, 20, interviewed via telephone)
  • 12. Contributions
    • Close offline-online integration despite the absence of offline ties that link those dimensions
    • Various forms of online support despite competitiveness offline
    • Supporting passion can also feed obsession
  • 13. Discussion Bernd Ploderer, Steve Howard, Peter Thomas Department of Information Systems The University of Melbourne