“I Know from Personal Experience”

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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to explore how citizens use news discussion spaces to share knowledge and provide alternative perspectives to be considered in understanding the events and issues of the day. When citizens gather in both the “official” and “unofficial” spaces of news to engage in commentary and discussion, added knowledge and perspectives are gained, sometimes in ways that can provide a counter to the framing of the story. Thus, an investigation into aspects of citizen knowledge sharing around news was conducted in the informal online community found on Reddit.com/r/news. It was found that: 1) incivility was not an obvious hindrance to knowledge sharing in this context, 2) tacit and explicit knowledge sharing occurred with about equivalent frequency, and 3) knowledge sharing, and specifically tacit knowledge sharing, was more likely to occur in deeper chains of back-and-forth exchange between smaller groups of participants.