Membership and activity in an online parenting community.
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PEDERSEN, S. and SMITHSON, J., 2010. Membership and activity in an online parenting community. In: R. TAIWO, ed. Handbook of Research on Discourse Behavior and Digital Communication: Language Structures and Social Interaction, Volume 1, pp. 88-103.
Recent studies have shown that British women, especially mothers of young children, spend a particularly large amount of time online. Many are logging on to parenting websites. This chapter investigates Mumsnet, a large British parenting site, and evaluates how members use and conceptualise the site. A combined method of a questionnaire survey with open and closed-ended questions, and discourse analysis of discussions on the site, was used to explore this. The analysis considers how membership and expertise are displayed and acknowledged in online groups, how people view their involvement with the site, how online and “real life” are segregated or integrated in various ways. The positioning of “lurkers” (those who read but do not post) and of “trolls” (those who post false information or fake identities) is explored within the context of how power is reproduced and challenged in the type of discourse produced in an online discussion forum.