Increasing Commitment to Online Communities by Designing for Social Presence

The existence and survival of online communities depends upon the commitment and retention of their members. This paper compares alternative ways of designing online sites to increase member commitment. We report the results of two experiments conducted within a Facebook game application. The results show that designs can increase commitment and retention of players either by visually highlighting individual members, or by emphasizing the community as a whole. These designs influence commitment through different routes.