Interactivity Redefined for the Social Web

Interactivity Redefined for the Social Web

V. Sachdev (Middle Tennessee State University, USA), S. Nerur (University of Texas at Arlington, USA) and J. T.C. Teng (University of Texas at Arlington, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-208-4.ch028
OnDemand PDF Download:
$37.50

Abstract

With the trend towards social interaction over the Internet and the mushrooming of Web sites such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube in the social computing space, practitioners and researchers are motivated to explain the sudden surge in user interest. The authors propose that interactivity is an important and appropriate subject of investigation to shed light on this explosion in social media use. Based on a review of the extant literature, they justify the use of interactivity for addressing research questions motivated by this new phenomenon. In particular, they propose a redefinition of interactivity for the social computing domain and term it Social Computing Interactivity (SCI). The authors suggest possible operationalizations of the dimensions of SCI and explore theory bases which would inform a study of their relevance in predicting the continued growth of social computing.
Chapter Preview
Top

Abstract

With the trend towards social interaction over the Internet and the mushrooming of Web sites such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube in the social computing space, practitioners and researchers are motivated to explain the sudden surge in user interest. The authors propose that interactivity is an important and appropriate subject of investigation to shed light on this explosion in social media use. Based on a review of the extant literature, they justify the use of interactivity for addressing research questions motivated by this new phenomenon. In particular, they propose a redefinition of interactivity for the social computing domain and term it Social Computing Interactivity (SCI). The authors suggest possible operationalizations of the dimensions of SCI and explore theory bases which would inform a study of their relevance in predicting the continued growth of social computing.

Top

Introduction

The recent explosion in the individual use of websites such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and others, has generated a lot of buzz in the media. This buzz has not been without valid reason, as is evidenced by the amount of traffic these sites draw and the valuation being assigned to these companies, without any significant revenue streams to justify those valuations (e.g., Google acquisition of YouTube for $1.6 billion and Microsoft’s investment of $240 million in Facebook). The number of users visiting these sites as well the growth rate they exhibit is staggering (see Table 1).

Table 1.
Usage and growth of some social Websites
          Website          Unique U.S. users (Sept.2007, Millions)          Growth from previous year (percent)
MySpace          68.1          23
Facebook          30.6          129
Flickr          13.1          90
Bebo          4.4          83
Imeem          3.2          1,590

Source: Businessweek, November 5, 2007 (pp. 24)

Given the extraordinary success of these sites, it behooves us to address the following questions:

  • a.

    What is the motivation for users to participate in social computing?

  • b.

    What will it take for these sites to retain existing users and attract new ones?

However, before we attempt to answer these questions, it is pertinent to define social computing and have some sense of how popular it is.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Reciprocal Communication: The perception of enablement of user to user and user to website communication.

Deep Profiling: The perception of availability of information about users on a website.

Control: The perception of control over the form of and content on a website.

Social Computing Interactivity: The degree to which the interaction (user-medium and user-user) is perceived to a) enable control b) exhibit responsiveness c) enable reciprocal communication and social presence and e) provide capabilities for self-presentation and deep profiling.

Responsiveness: The perception of the speed of response during a user interaction with a website and the probability of that response.

Social Presence: The degree to which users perceive the physical existence of others and the perception of interaction with the other user(s).

Self Presentation: The perception of the ability to project one’s identity on the website.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset