Publication Details

Shen, K. & Khalifa, M. 2008, 'Design for Social Presence in Online Communities: A Multi-dimensional Approach', 12th Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems, Association for Information Systems, pp. 1-11.


In online communities, numerous technical and social design decisions determine the social interaction space and affect the community participation. Social presence has been considered as a major design principle in computer-mediated communication. While most prior IS research adopts a uni-dimensional approach and restricts social presence to be the subjective nature of media, this research adopts a multi-dimensional approach (Shen and Khalifa 2007) to examine the online community design. Compared to uni-dimensional conceptualizations of presence/social presence, multi-dimensional conceptualizations can better capture the sense of social presence induced by both technical and social factors, and therefore entail more valuable implications for community design. The multi-dimensional approach also extends the developers' impacts on online community, from interface design to user experience design. Built upon the work by Shen and Khalifa (2007) and Ma and Agarwal (2007), this study examines the technological antecedents of social presence dimensions. An online survey was conducted with four online forums. The empirical results provide interesting insights regarding the relative importance of three social presence dimensions in driving online community participation as well as the various correspondences between community artifacts and three social presence dimension.