Smartphones and Self-Broadcasting among College Students in an Age of Social Media

Smartphones and Self-Broadcasting among College Students in an Age of Social Media

Franklin Nii Amankwah Yartey (University of Dubuque, USA) and Louisa Ha (Bowling Green State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0159-6.ch010
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This chapter examines the use of smartphones for self-broadcasting via social media among college students. Based on motivation and network externalities theories, our survey of a public university's college students confirmed our hypotheses that network size, years of experience using social media and the time spent on social media positively predict their frequency of self-broadcasting on their smartphones. The results suggest that 85.2% of college students self-broadcast at least once a month by updating their status on SNS and students are likely to self-broadcast within their network. Most students set their profile privacy setting as private or semi-private. But privacy setting does not affect self-broadcast frequency.
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Smartphones and social networking sites (SNS) are globally used and these gadgets are helping to modify the lives of people. These technologies provide access and connections to networks of people with convenience and the ability to share and receive information from a fluid and shifting Internet network (Enteen, 2006). Users are thus able to shrink time and space with these technologies by remotely connecting to friends, family, and business associates. Mobile phones continue to be tools that facilitate social sharing of information (Yang, Wang, & Li, 2013). From an information management standpoint, smartphones have immense self-broadcasting power (Bert, Giacometti, Gualano, & Siliquini, 2014) and SNS sites remain frequent destinations for smartphone users (Randall, 2014).

Smartphones as self-broadcasting tools and location-based technologies have been studied by several scholars (Costa, Benevenuto, & Merschmann, 2013; Karikoski & Soikkeli, 2013; Kang & Jung, 2014). Other studies discussed self-presentation on social networks (Hilsen & Helvik, 2014; Michikyan, Subrahmanyam, & Dennis, 2014). Studies have also hypothesized the relationship between Facebook friends and social well-being (Indian & Grieve, 2014; Wang, Kosinski, Stillwell, & Rust, 2014). Past studies have also examined social capital and Facebook use (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007; Jiang & de Bruijn, 2014; Li & Chen, 2014). However, little to no research exists on the role smartphones play in self-broadcasting in relation to the number of friends that one has on Facebook. Scholars have discussed smartphone use (Cacho-Elizondo, Shahidi, & Tossan, 2013) and the motivations behind social network use (Ross, Orr, Sisic, Arseneault, Simmering, & Orr, 2009). Though Tong, Van der Heide, and Langwell (2008) have explored the relationship between the number of friends and interpersonal impressions on Facebook, they did not examine smartphone use in the same context. The Nielsen Company’s Social Media Report reports the rise of SNS use through smartphones and digital technologies (The Nielsen Company, 2012). Young adults between 18 and 24 years spend 59% of their time using the applications on their phones to browse the Internet (Bryant, 2013). However, owning a smartphone does not mean all applications will be utilized (Verkasalo, Lopez-Nicolas, Molina-Castillo, & Bouwman, 2010).

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