Monday, March 7, 2011

Practicum#2- Yen

I am going to talk about online support groups under the Users and Audiences category in tomorrow's presentation. I chose a few sites like and DailyStrength to observe and participate in an environment full of supports and discussions about the issues that the users come across. In these sites, users are given more than a hundred of options of specific groups that they want support from and are allowed to freely join as much as they are interested to share their experience, gain insights and affirmation from other users. The sites work quite similar to other social networking sites that users can look at the updates of other users, update their status, create discussions and make comments. They engage in these sites frequently and have their own network of 'support friends'.

My questions for the presentation:
1. What motivates the users of these support groups sites to participate on a daily or weekly basis?
2. Why do the users willing to share their personal sensitive issues and emotions in this large community when most users are strangers? Do you think the sites provide any certainties to make them comfortable in doing this?
3. Do you think they can obtain the suitable support for their issues from these sites? Is it possible that users are providing misleading information to each other?


  1. In response to question one, I feel that users participate daily in support groups because it makes them feel not alone. They get confirmation that their feelings are normal because other people are going through what they are.

  2. Participating in an online forum creates group identity and breaks down barriers of normal face to face conversation. People can disclose as much information as they want without being subject to face to face judgment or criticism. This makes the atmosphere much more comfortable and relaxed. Some even argue (according to Prof. Toma in CA 272) that one is more of their "true self" online because of the elimination of social barriers and they disclose more information than they ever would to a stranger face to face on the internet.