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The Use of Story in Building Online Group Relationships

The Use of Story in Building Online Group Relationships
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Author(s): Stephen Thorpe (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand)
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 19
Source title: Handbook of Research on Computer Mediated Communication
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Sigrid Kelsey (Louisiana State University, USA) and Kirk St.Amant (East Carolina University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-863-5.ch040

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Abstract

Throughout history, story has been a powerful and effective way to build relationships within groups of people. Professional group facilitators know the power that story can bring to the workshops and group sessions they lead. From within the membership of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), a group of 18 facilitators came together to collectively research the benefits of story in online groups. There was strong interest in developing practical processes and techniques that facilitators could use in building and maintaining relationships in the online groups they work with. This chapter presents some of the findings from a cooperative inquiry the group undertook investigating the use of story using a variety of media including: e-mail, audio, telephone, video and Web conferencing, instant messaging, chat, blogging, and online surveys. Our investigations reveal that story can be a powerful means for building relationships between group members within online groups. The impact of disembodiment, restrictive feedback, unclear membership, and tolerance for technical difficulties are also detailed and some interventions are outlined.

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