This research-in-progress paper reports preliminary findings from a field study exploring the behaviours of a group of first-time parents when they participate in communities online and face-to-face. Members of the study report that having access to technology doesn’t necessarily mean they will participate in an online community; some who choose not to participate report experiencing feelings of exclusion from events in the lives of their friends and families. This finding challenges the dominant explanatory perspective which assumes individuals, given equality of access, will participate online. Findings also reveal that the value of online community membership is realised to differing extents, in different contexts; not necessarily the social capital-building tool literature and policy herald it to be. Findings to date are helping me understand the entangled nature of online and face-to-face communities in our everyday lives, revealing limitations in explaining participation from a singular social or technological perspective.