This is an exploratory case study to analyze the membership growth of a virtual community named SCTNet by using diffusion model. SCTNet (http://sctnet.edu.tw) is designed to facilitate profession communications among teachers of elementary schools and junior high schools in Taiwan. The diffusion model provides the insight of influential factors for the membership growth on the web site. According to the empirical results, the word-of-mouth has stronger effect than the mass-media advertising. In addition, the diffusion process is slower than those of general innovations or durable goods. The authors propose two possible reasons, one is that teachers belong to different homophilous groups and lack of heterophilous communications, and the other is that the isolation is a general problem surrounding the teachers. Besides, the virtual community is attributed as an interactive media; the more members gather, the more benefits can be generated such as professional advices and emotional supports among members. There should be a so-called “critical mass” in the diffusion curve for such interactive innovation. After the turning point, the membership grows explosively. However, the empirical data of this study does not appear such circumstance. Thus, several aspects that require further researched are suggested in the end of this paper.
Day, Rong-Fuh; Lin, Fen-Hui; Lin, Hsin-Hui; and Lin, Fu-Ren, "A Case Study on Membership Growth of a Teacher Professional Community Using the Diffusion Model" (2001). ICEB 2001 Proceedings. 71.