Nearly two months ago I posted a blog on my research and that research now is finished! It was on the subject of experiencing events and the influence an online community can have on that experience. At that time I was busy building an online community for the Highlands blues festival, which is now a fact; blueslife.nl. We wanted to have a solid theory to give structure to the online community. So we based that online community on the theory that experience consists of four vital aspects; socialisation, fun, education and signification. We tried to represent those assets in the form of a wiki page, a forum and the possibility to make a profile and to communicate with each other throughout the whole community. We launched this community a month for the festival took place, and that may have been a bit too late for a community to fully flourish. On May 16th, the date of the actual festival, blueslife.nl had a member count of 60.
For measuring the experience at the online community and on the festival itself we developed an ‘experience measuring tool’ in the form of a questionnaire. This was, along with setting up the online community, the biggest time investment for my research. It was also my biggest lesson; it isn’t easy to develop a good questionnaire. When the questionnaire was a fact, it resulted in 267 respondents. We used two major theories for creating this tool, and both of those theories didn’t quite match with the outcome of this research. The assets of experience as we first assumed, weren’t completely represented by the outcome of the questionnaires. After statistic analysis it seemed experience consists of socialisation, fun, physical environment and a combination of education and signification. Another important outcome is that there is a difference between a group of people we labelled ‘motivated’ and the rest of the population. People that are more motivated buy there ticket earlier, visited the community and studied the programme thoroughly. These people have greater expectations of the fun they’ll be having at the festival than the other people. When the festival itself doesn’t meet or exceed their expectations, their experiences on the subject of fun will we be influenced negatively.
I am overall pretty happy with the outcome of my research. That’s mostly thanks to the working environment at CELL. I had a great time working here and had a lot of people and resources to hear out about all kind of subjects concerning my research. I even had the great opportunity to meet with one of the authors of a book we used as theoretical background for this research. At this moment I have handed in my paper and I’m almost done with this study, I think it’s time to look ahead now.