Individual Differences in Social Networking Site Adoption

Individual Differences in Social Networking Site Adoption

Harsha Gangadharbatla (University of Oregon, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-104-9.ch001

Abstract

This chapter focuses on detailing the role of five individual level factors—Internet self-efficacy, self-esteem, need to belong, need for information, and gender—in influencing the attitudes toward social networking sites (SNS) and the adoption of such sites. First, the growing importance of social networking sites in business is discussed, and their usage as advertising vehicles is outlined. Individual differences in SNS adoption are presented from a technology acceptance model framework. A paper-pencil-based survey is conducted and data obtained is used to test a structural model that explains the role of individual-level factors in influencing individuals’ attitudes toward SNS, their willingness to join SNS, and their actual membership on SNS. Results are presented and managerial implications are drawn.
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Introduction

The Internet has radically changed the way people shop, transact, bank, and communicate with others in the recent years. With an estimated 73% of all American adults now online (Madden, 2006), the impact of the Internet on communication, commerce, and society in general continues to grow. One such impact is the proliferation of social networking sites (SNS) that are particularly popular with teens and young adults. It is estimated that over 55% of online teens use social networks and at least 48% of them visit social networking Web sites daily or more often (Lenhart & Madden, 2007). However, very little research has been done to understand the process of social networking site (SNS) adoption.

The success of social networking sites and communication on such sites depends a lot on the innovation and adoption of such sites (Ridings & Gefen, 2004). With more and more businesses implementing these social networking sites, it becomes important to understand how and why people are deciding to use sites such as MySpace and Facebook (Wellman & Gulia, 1999). As with the successful adoption of any new consumer technology, the success of social networking sites also depends on numerous factors of which individual-level factors are often ignored in this area of research. Agarwal and Prasad (1999) suggest that individual differences are important in information technology acceptance and are often not included in technology acceptance models. Therefore, the current chapter fills the gap in literature by examining individual differences in SNS adoption from a technology acceptance model perspective.

The following section explains the concept and types of social networking sites before discussing the role of such sites in creating and adding value to businesses and their usage as advertising vehicles.

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