IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - Spring 2014 - 69

i.e., social interacting. Networks of
socializing can take an online form
that might extend to further boundaries of offline relationships, or
to enhancing offline relationships
via online networks. DECs are
all about social interaction where
communication is the foundation
of such relationships [33].
The value of Self-Esteem offered
by platforms of DECs enables users
to open up and get a feeling of
togetherness through interaction
with other community members.
participating in groups and events
gives members the feeling of existence and being connected. The creation of groups and the contribution
to discussions can help establish a
certain reputation, which according to Maslow's theory of human
motivation represents the outer selfesteem need and thereby enables
them to feel internally important
(e.g., inner self-esteem). Generally
speaking, the esteem needs, both on
the outer and inner levels, that users
can get from DECs are 1) the need
of respect from others, and the need
for status, recognition, attention,
appreciation, even dominance, and
2) the need for self-respect, including feelings such as confidence,
achievement, independence, and
freedom [20].
The last recognizable social
value is Self-Discovery which can
be defined as "a sense of emotional involvement with the group"
[8, p. 11]. Blanchard and Markus
[9] referred to self-discovery as
a "sense of community." Joining
a group creates a sense of attachment to that group, as long as one's
certain needs are satisfied [12]. In
DECs, despite the lack of face-toface interaction, human feelings
including attachment, obligation,
relationship, identity, and support
are important dimensions captured
in the sense of belonging to a community [9]. Thus, we believe that
the stronger the sense of community belonging individuals conquer,
the more they are likely to take
more of an active role.

Hedonic Value
Hedonic values highlight three personal F's - one's fantasies, feelings,
and fun [19]. They are perceived as
abstract and subjective, and mainly
refer to an intrinsic motivation for
doing something that is inherently
interesting and enjoyable [33], [21].
Many DECs give users interactive
entertainment opportunities and
offer them an interesting ambiance.
Users of Bebo BeInspired, for one
example of many, enjoy showing
and sharing their personal talents
of acting, singing, playing music,
etc. Another example is related to
entertainment applications on Bebo
such as The Simpsons and pirates
rangers quizzes and games.

Epistemic Value
Epistemic value can be defined as
that value that would persuade users
looking for novelty experience as
well as new knowledge acquisition
[2], [35]. This new knowledge might
be derived from different factors of
motivation. Many individuals may
snoop around in a passive manner
for the purpose of sneeking on personal profiles, looking at pictures,
and having an eye on what is going
on (i.e., interpersonal needs), or may
passivley pitch in for the purpose of
seeking information, support, advice
without intending to publicly engage
(i.e., informational needs). Epistemic
value is considered a key function of
value that is highly related to individuals' inner personalities and also can
influence behavioral intentions and
switch user behaviors [38].

Gift Value
The huge amounts of random
information available on the Internet are staggering. In the world of
DECs, the gift value is referred to
the public informational products
available for everyone at no price
with no favor asked in return [23].
In other words, DECs represent a
world of information rather than a
world of physical objects. DECs are
a great source of valuable information with large numbers of users

IEEE TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY MAGAZINE

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SprING 2014

pitching in for the greater good
where there is no limit to possibilities. Hence, personal interactions amongst DECs users are best
represented as a "gift economy"
[32]. Gift economies are driven
by social relations where sharing
and exchanging information cost
nothing. Nevertheless, the key to a
sustainable gift economy lies within the genuine givers who pass
on free advice and information to
unknown beneficiaries whom they
might not even come across again.

Utilitarian Value
Satisfying a utilitarian value is the
effective achievement of a functional goal which is often suitable
for solution seekers and problem
solvers [19]. It is characterized as
instrumental and extrinsic, that is
beneficial for functional and practical queries [7]. Such values can be
classified as Instrumental or Functional which can be best described
as an acquisition of new knowledge,
and an increase in idea creation
and enhanced problem solving [6].
For example, when users ask for a
handy advice in solving a dilemma
related to health, careers, travel,
or other issues as in Bebo Young
Scot InfoLine, they are seeking
for practical, utilitarian value elements. It is worth mentioning here
that such a classification of value
elements in DECs is novel as well
as the way of categorizing these
elements into interpersonal values
(social, hedonic, and epistemic)
and informational (epistemic, gift,
and utilitarian).

Role Playing
In time, when enough members
join a community, an identity for
the community begins to develop.
Users might evolve in terms of
their participative roles in DECs
where each role is distinct with
its own characteristics of needs of
value. Members start using a common language and as the community grows, they behave according
to their intended needs. Thereafter,
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