You can read about the Natural Lifecycle of an Online Community:
– “90-9-1” Rule for Participation Inequality: Lurkers vs. Contributors in Internet Communities (Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox)
– Psychology of Cyberspace – Natural Life Cycle of Mailing Lists
– The Online Community Lifecycle by Shannon Swenson, Interactive Producer
– Scott Burkett’s Pothole on the Infobahn » The Lifecycle of Online Community Members
The Bamboo Project Blog and zengestrom.com blogged about the differences between Egocentric and Object Centric Networks and online communities and why Object Centric Networks have a better chance to succeed.