VIRTUAL & REAL INTERACTIONS: LESSONS FROM COUCHSURFING COMMUNITY
“This is not an article, just some thoughts” on the impact of web technologies (online social networks) on the daily conduct of people in a non-work and collaborative environment. The analysis is inducted from a set of episodes collected participating in the CouchSurfing (CS) community during the last years.
CouchSurfing.com is an online non-profit network that connects travelers with locals in over 240 countries around the world. The project was lunched in 2004 and presently there are more than 2 millions of registered CouchSurfers.
CS community presents a set of peculiarities that makes it a unique and interesting setting to be investigated: 1. CS is a large multinational online community; 2. CS’s aim is to facilitate the interaction among CS members that have never met before; 3. the expected CS’s result is to let its members meet in the real life. For these reasons, CS community is a nexus of online and face to face interactions where most of the Web 2.0 and social networks peculiarities become crucial: trust, participation, open access, network externalities, privacy, security, etc.
This is a first, brief, in progress and interpretative analysis of the CS system based on a participatory observation study started in August 2008.
Bolici, Francesco, "VIRTUAL & REAL INTERACTIONS: LESSONS FROM COUCHSURFING COMMUNITY" (2011). MCIS 2011 Proceedings. 103.