"We've got a better situation" the Life and Afterlife of Virtual Communities of Google Lively

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Isto Huvila


Journal of Documentation, Volume 71, Number 3, p.526 - 549 (2015)


Purpose The purpose of this paper is to discuss the impact of unsustainable community platforms from community and information sharing perspectives using Google Lively as an example. The aim is to analyse what happens when a community platform is not sustainable and explore the reasons why Lively failed or succeeded as an arena of participation and information sharing. Design/methodology/approach The study is based on an ethnographically informed analysis of texts on Google Lively mined from the web and gathered using two small qualitative surveys. Findings The findings show that Lively fostered the emergence of several virtual communities that outlived the platform. Shared experience, experience of crisis and a distinct identity appeared to be significant factors that seemed to contribute to the success of analysed Livelian communities. Research limitations/implications The study is based on a convenience sample and an analysis of one virtual community platform. Practical implications The results inform the development of community strategies for situations when a platform is closing and plans are being made for the sustained existence of the virtual community in new contexts. Originality/value This is the first comprehensive study on Google Lively. The findings can be expected to have relevance also in the context of comparable virtual community platforms.
PDF icon IstoHuvila-BetterSituationPreprint.pdf626.89 KB

Archaeology and Archaeological Information in the Digital Society shows how the digitization of archaeological information, tools and workflows, and their interplay with both old and new non-digital practices throughout the archaeological information process, affect the outcomes of archaeological work, and in the end, our general understanding of the human past.

Read more

COST-ARKWORK is a network funded by the COST scheme that brings together the multidisciplinary work of researchers of archaeological practices in the field of archaeological knowledge production and use. The aim of the network is to make a major push forward in the current state-of-the-art in knowing how archaeological knowledge is produced, how it is used and how to maximise its positive impact in the society.

Read more

CApturing Paradata for documenTing data creation and Use for the REsearch of the future (CAPTURE) investigates what information about the creation and use of research data that is paradata) is needed and how to capture enough of that information to make the data reusable in the future. 

Read more