The study aims to explore the heterogeneity of online interactions in the online community. Drawing on the social exchange and social support theory, we identify three types of social exchanges in the online community, which are reciprocity-based exchange, informational exchange, and emotional exchange. With data collected from the online forum of Taobao sellers, we apply text-mining techniques to differentiate individuals’ interactions in the online forum, and we examine the influence of each type of interactions. We propose that different types of social exchanges in online forums differ in their economic and social impact. Specifically, our findings reveal that sellers’ reciprocity-based exchange is positively associated with the sellers’ sales performance on the ecommerce platform (economic outcome), while sellers’ informational exchange is positively associated with their influence in the online forum (social outcome).
Chen, Yi; Boh, Wai Fong; and Mo, Jiahui, "Heterogeneous Interactions in Online Communities: Social and Economic Impact for Online Sellers" (2018). PACIS 2018 Proceedings. 326.