In his talk on Empowering Professional Opennes Through Groups, Networks & Collectives, Terry Anderson (at about 22:30 min in) talks about why people contribute to networks, citing research that asked people this question, and whether it was about expecting others to give back/solve problems/help them out. He says no. People contribute to networks for these reasons:
- establish identity, presence, social capital
- altruism, gift economy, try to contribute in a positive way
I buy it. At least in my field (ed/tech). I wonder what goes on in other fields. I do know that almost NONE of my friends in other fields work like this. Actually, I can think of one, and he’s in online writing/publishing.