The Role of Status Seeking in Online Communities: Giving the Gift of Experience

March 19, 2007

This article examines online gift giving in the form of opinion, information, and advice that individuals post on websites. Research has highlighted altruism and reciprocity as the key motives behind such gift giving. We argue that informational gift giving is also strongly driven by status and status seeking, and that status sentiments are more likely to sustain virtual communities. Using theories of status seeking and self-presentation, we investigate the ways in which consumers construct status in online consumer communities. The data reveal insights into the strategies behind constructing a digital status and the rise of online systems to promote celebrity status within online communities.

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