Use and Participation in Virtual Social Networks: A Theoretical Model

Use and Participation in Virtual Social Networks: A Theoretical Model

Margherita Pagani (Bocconi University, Italy) and Charles Hofacker (Florida State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-100-3.ch611

Abstract

Managers are increasingly interested in the social web, as it provides numerous opportunities for strengthening and expanding relationships with customers, but the network processes that lead to these user-based assets are poorly understood. In this paper, the authors explore factors influencing use and participation in virtual social networks. They also discuss unusual drivers and inhibitors present with virtual social networks—highlighted by the presence of positive network externalities and fears that the content will be misused. The authors offer hypotheses stemming from a model of how these factors work together, test the model with a dataset collected from two different virtual social networks, and discuss the implications of this work. The findings offer managers insights on how to nurture Web 2.0 processes.

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