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Building online communities on social networking sites: a case-study of the TV5MONDE Facebook page

TV5MONDE, the French-language global television network, launched its Facebook page in 2009. To this day, it has reached over a million fans (FB users who are following this FB page) and on average over 20,000 people talk about what is happening on the page every week. In January 2013, TV5MONDE started a media campaign inviting their viewers to join the TV5MONDE community. This paper proposes to investigate whether this social networking site has really succeeded in building an online community.
In order to assess the nature of the exchanges on the FB page, a framework will first be established using relevant research in the field of community building (McMillian & Chavis, 1986; Preece, 2010; Ala-Mutka, 2010; Wenger & al 2009). It will define markers of community development: participation patterns, signs of active engagement, and markers of the sense of community belonging in the discourse.
This framework will serve as the basis for the analysis of the postings produced on the TV5MONDE FB page. The corpus will consist of the discourse artefacts posted on this page over a three-month period. It will contain both the main postings produced by the TV5MONDE team and the ensuing comments by the fans of this FB page. Using the community-forming markers defined in the framework, a content analysis of this data will be conducted both qualitatively and quantitatively. It will identify major themes and patterns as related to community forming. It will also reveal whether the activity taking place on the site really contributes to connecting people and facilitating community creation and development.
The findings will highlight key factors and enablers contributing to the building and development of communities.
These findings and the ensuing conclusions will also form the basis for recommendations for further applications of social networking sites in the building of online communities.


Catherine Jeanneau    
School of Languages, Literature, Culture and Communication
University of Limerick

Catherine Jeanneau manages the Language Resource Area at the University of Limerick. Prior to this, she worked as Research and Development Manager of the Language Support Unit, centre aimed at implementing a learner support strategy and providing customised services outside of formal classroom time, with a particular emphasis on non-traditional and mature students in language learning.
Catherine Jeanneau obtained two Maitrises from the Université d’Angers (France) in English language and culture and in French as a foreign language and is now conducting her postgraduate studies on online language-learning communities.
Her research interests include second language acquisition, technology and language learning and learner autonomy.


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