Social Network Site Use among Dutch Students: Effects of Time and Platform

Social Network Site Use among Dutch Students: Effects of Time and Platform

Sonja Utz (VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-338-6.ch006

Abstract

This chapter compares the SNS use of Dutch students across time and platforms. Between 2009 (n = 194) and 2010 (n = 212), many users migrated from Hyves, the hitherto largest Dutch SNS, to Facebook. Comparisons between the two years showed that SNS use remained relatively stable over time; only self-disclosure increased remarkably. However, there were several differences between the platforms. Facebook users were more active, they disclosed more about themselves, but they reacted also more to their friends. There were no effects of time and platform on positive or negative consequences of social interaction on SNS, indicating that the preference for a SNS is more a question of the current trend. In contrast to the assumption that SNS are especially useful to stay in touch with acquaintances, the respondents used them mainly for conversation with close friends. The implications of these findings are discussed.
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Background

SNS are “web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system” (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). The explicit display of the personal network and the (semi-)public maintenance of social relationships make SNS an interesting venue for researchers.

Due to this combination of features – online profiles and networking opportunities -, SNS can be used in a more self-centered and/or a more other-centered way. Using SNS mainly as a platform for self-presentation is a rather self-centered way of using SNS, whereas using SNS to communicate with friends and acquaintances or to engage in group discussions is considered as other-focused way of SNS use. A somewhat similar distinction in identity as display and identity as connection has been made by Livingstone (2008). The present research examined both types of behaviors.

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