Electronic Bulletin Boards and “Public Goods” Explanations of Collaborative Mass Media

Sheizaf Rafaeli, Robert J. LaRose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Collaborative mass media are a new type of mass communications medium in which the audience acts both as the source and the receiver of the message. Theories of discretionary data base contributions and critical mass theory offer parallel explanations for the success of collaborative media. The present research integrated the predictions of these two perspectives in the context of a national survey of public electronic bulletin board systems. The study documented the nature and extent of electronic bulletin board use and compared predictions about the success of collaborative media based on the two theoretical perspectives. File contribution levels and system adoption rates were both found to be directly related to a measure of symmetry in user participation. Content diversity was directly related to contribution levels, but not to overall adoption levels. The results provided limited support for discretionary data base theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-297
Number of pages21
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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