Gender Differences in Motivations to Use Social Networking Sites

Gender Differences in Motivations to Use Social Networking Sites

Valeria Noguti (University of Technology Sydney, Australia), Sonika Singh (University of Technology Sydney, Australia), and David S. Waller (University of Technology Sydney, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6912-1.ch081
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This chapter investigates gender differences in motivations to use social networking sites (SNS), a subset of social media. The present research focuses on Facebook given its prominence among currently available SNS. Analysing a survey of university students in Australia, the results indicate that female consumers are more likely than male consumers to use Facebook to seek information (to research and learn new things and to discuss products and brands) and for convenience (to obtain things with little effort). Both of these reasons in turn relate positively to their degree of engagement on Facebook, where engagement is operationalized as cognitive absorption which is a state of deep involvement with an activity.
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Over the last 20 years the internet has resulted in significant changes in how we communicate, gather information, and purchase goods and services. Innovations in online social media have resulted in websites that not only allow users to retrieve information, but also encourage the interactive sharing of information and the creation of user-generated content (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010; Mangold & Faulds, 2009). In particular, there has been an explosion in popularity of social networking sites (SNS) which is an online platform that has the main objective to facilitate regular communication among individuals. These include various social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as photo and video sharing sites such as YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest. Facebook is a popular SNS where people can search for other people and businesses, and keep friends updated with the latest pictures, videos, news and information (Chi, 2011; Curran, Graham & Temple, 2011; Lukka & James, 2014). One of the reasons online social networks provide an important topic for research is that consumers’ media habits have been consistently shifting away from traditional mass media, such as television, towards the internet (Deloitte, 2014) and notably social media. Hence, companies benefit from having their brands present on social media, including SNS, as it is where consumers spend more and more of their time.

Within a social networking context, the research objectives of our study are to: (1) determine what motivates people to use SNS; (2) discover the relationships between motives and engagement in SNS; and (3) ascertain any gender differences in the use of SNS. The analyses of responses to an online survey capturing the reasons for using Facebook provides insights on the gender differences in survey respondent motivations and related engagement with social media.

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