Gender Differences in the Technology’s Classic Models in Social Network Sites

Gender Differences in the Technology’s Classic Models in Social Network Sites

Begoña Peral-Peral (University of Seville, Spain), Ángel F. Villarejo-Ramos (University of Seville, Spain) and Manuel J. Sánchez-Franco (University of Seville, Spain)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5190-6.ch008
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Abstract

Social Network Sites (SNS) have very rapidly become part of the daily reality of Internet users in recent years. Firms also use social networks as a two-way communication with their current and potential customers. This exploratory work means to analyze if Internet users’ gender influences the behavior of using social networks. There is a reason for this. Despite Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) acceptance and use being more frequent in men, according to the previous literature, in line with different surveys on the subject, social networks are more used by women. The authors, therefore, analyze in this chapter if there are gender differences in the constructs of technology’s classic models, such as the TAM (Technology Acceptance Model) and the TPB (Theory of Planned Behavior). They use a sample of 1,460 university students.
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Introduction

The social network is the most significant socio-technological phenomenon of the last decades. It has a constant impact and important and evident effects on society, the relationships between people and their interactions with their environment and, along with this, the relationships of firms with their customers. The Web has gone from being a place to store and find information to being a site where this information is generated, shared, modified and, moreover, has value added to it by the users (Sierra, 2011). This is why the Web 2.0 determines the network as a social space characterized by global conversation, the creation of contents and sharing.

Within this 2.0 context an essential role is played by the appearing of Social Network Sites (SNS). These are defined as services set up in the Web that give access to people inscribed as members of a virtual community to build a public or semi-public profile within a delimited system, to articulate a list of users with whom to share a connection and visualize and look over their list of connections within the system (Ellison et al. 2007). The intentionality of the SNS is hence to achieve relationships via themselves that allow work in collaboration as well as the exchange of ideas, information and knowledge between their members (Fliaster & Spiess, 2008).

Kijkuit and Van den Ende (2007) argue that an SNS contributes new ideas as a result of the interaction between its users depending on the mutual comprehension of the people in the net. If they are not in the know about the diversity of knowledge, it is unlikely for people to be able to use it effectively, even when they interrelate with other members. This will involve a decrease in people’s intention and use of the SNS.

The exploring of new ways of communicating is what is currently most important in organizations (Katona et al., 2011). Commercial reports that document the benefits of SNS in the launching of new products and brands have led numerous firms to incorporate the instruments of social communication into their marketing plans (social media marketing). They have also brought about the promoting of the viability of the brand’s profile in the SNS –online reputation- (Tegler, 2009), communication with their customers (Van den Bulte & Wuyts, 2007) and a greater and better access to information on business markets and opportunities (Madsen, 2007).

Thus, accepting the importance of SNS in the context of the communication between firms and their markets, we mean with this work to go more deeply into the knowledge of these networks’ users. The SNS are one of the communication services and information accesses most used by young people: this stratus has a significantly greater percentage of users than the total of Spanish network users (Orange Foundation, 2012). This is why our research has chosen young people - a sample of university students. The aim is to analyze this group’s SNS acceptation and use and to try to determine if there are significant gender-based differences or not.

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Gender Differences In The Acceptation And Use Of Information And Communication Technologies (Ict)

The previous literature points out that there are differences between men and women in ICT use. Research on consumer psychology (Dennis et al., 2009) identifies differences in this sense and these can be relevant for e-consumer behavior. Thus, Cyr and Bonnani (2005) discovered that there are significant differences between men and women in the perceptions of page designs and in satisfaction due to the website.

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