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Google+ Communities as Plazas and Topic Boards

Michael J. Brzozowski
Phil Adams
Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '15), ACM, New York, NY (2015), pp. 3779-3788


Researchers have recently been focusing on understanding online communities in social networks that offer easy access to new audiences. In this work, we conducted a mixed-method study of public Google+ Communities and found two major types evident in both how users talk about them and how they appear to use them: plazas to meet new people, and topic boards to discuss common interests. This reflects two common motivations users cite in describing Communities: "meeting like minded people" and "finding great content". We characterize these two types of Communities within Google+ using mixed methods including surveys, interviews, and quantitative analytics, and expose differences in user behaviors between them.