At this year’s International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) in Auckland, New Zealand, I’ll have the pleasure to present a poster on an ongoing research project on online community health. I was made aware of the concept by several of the community managers I interviewed for my dissertation. They used it as a way to describe the overall functioning and well-being of their communities. Ever since, I’ve been following the work in this area. Lithium, a consultancy, has introduced a so called community health index, for example. In 2011, Wang and Lantzy published the first academic paper on the topic. You’ll find the abstract, the conference poster, and the link to the final article below.
“Along with the increasing popularity of social media and online communities in many business settings, the notion of online community health has become a common means by which community managers judge the condition or state of their communities. It has also been introduced to the literature, yet the concept remains underspecified and fragmented. In this paper, we work toward a construct conceptualization of online community health. Through a review of extant literature and dialogue with specialists in the field, we develop a multi-dimensional construct of online community health, consisting of seven elements. In writing this paper, we attempt to foster theory development around new organizational forms by advancing a new and important construct. The paper further provides guidance to the managers of social media and online communities by taking a systematic look at the well-being of their communities.”
Wagner, D., Richter A., Trier, M., & Wagner, H-T. 2014. Toward a conceptualization of online community health. Proceedings of the 2014 International Conference on Information Systems. [Link]