Web 2.0 Goes Mobile: Motivations and Barriers of Mobile Social Networks Use in Spain

Web 2.0 Goes Mobile: Motivations and Barriers of Mobile Social Networks Use in Spain

Carla Ruiz-Mafé (University of Valencia, Spain), Silvia Sanz-Blas (University of Valencia, Spain) and José Martí-Parreño (European University of Madrid, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2515-0.ch005


Mobile social networking sites have become one of the fastest growing Web 2.0 services worldwide both in developing and developed countries and have a major interest for the information systems research community. This chapter aims to give managers and students insight into the mobile social networking industry and the different drivers and barriers to mobile social networking sites adoption. The chapter’s specific goals are to: (i) Identify consumer segments more likely to adopt mobile social networking services; (ii) Analyze the perceived benefits and barriers that encourage/discourage the adoption of mobile social networking services; (iii) Provide empirical research on the Spanish market that analyses the influence of uses and gratifications in attitude and usage behavior of mobile social networks; (iv) Provide future trends on the mobile social networking services industry and use the study’s findings to develop strategies for managers of developing countries on how to maximize the rate of mobile social networking adoption. The chapter is divided into three parts. In the first section, the authors include the literature review on key drivers of consumer adoption of mobile social networks and present a conceptual model, focusing on the rationale of the constructs used. In the second part, methodology design using a sample of 220 Spanish teenagers is presented and validated. Finally, the results are presented and implications for developing countries are discussed.
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Social networking sites (SNS) provide services that allow people with common interests to create their communities online. These services offer functions for contact and information exchange among users, which include sharing photos or videos, personal blogs, group discussion, real-time messaging or e-mails, thereby enhancing social interaction (Hsiao, 2011; Wang et al., 2010). With social networks, consumers can access not only the opinions of close friends, relatives and work colleagues but also those of anyone in the world who has used a given product or service.

Social networking sites (SNS) have become one of the fastest growing Web 2.0 services worldwide both in developing and developed countries (Boyd and Ellison, 2007). By way of illustration, Facebook which began in early 2004 as a Harvard-only SNS, expanded later to include high school students, professionals in side corporate networks and everyone and reached over 600 million users at the beginning of 2011, which accounts for nearly 10% of the world population. The economic impact of SNSs on economic markets is also increasing, i.e. Facebook´s market value has been set at about 50 billion dollars with a forecast of one billion users by 2012 (ABC, 2011). SNS have grown differently in different countries, while initially MySpace attracted the majority of media attention in the U.S. and abroad, other SNSs were proliferating and growing in popularity worldwide. Friendster gained attraction in the Pacific Islands while Orkut became the premier SNS in developing countries such as Brazil and India (Madhavan, 2007), Mixi attained widespread adoption in Japan, LunarStormtook off in Sweden, Dutch users embraced Hyves, Grono captured Poland, Hi5 was adopted in smaller countries in Latin America, South America, and Europe, and Bebo became very popular in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. Additionally, other communication services began implementing SNS features. The Chinese QQ instant messaging service became the largest SNS worldwide when it added profiles and made friends visible (McLeod, 2006), while the forum tool Cyworld cornered the Korean market by introducing home pages and buddies (Ewers, 2006). Although SNSs like QQ, Orkut, and Live Spaces are just as large as, if not larger than, MySpace, they receive little coverage in U.S. and English-speaking media, making it difficult to track their trajectories.

The benefits of social network use extend not only to participants but also to companies that, through the comments left on the sites, can find out about the tastes, desires and needs of the users of these networks, their consumption behavior, the levels of satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the products and services purchased or used (Casaló et al., 2008; Royo and Casamassima, 2011). Mobile social networking sites are also a way of developing closer relations with customers and encouraging satisfaction and brand loyalty. Research made by Okazaki (2012) in Japan showed that SNS engagement influences on positive word of mouth on mobile social networking.

We can state that smartphones – enhanced mobile phones devices that allow consumers accessing to data services like email, games, videos or mobile applications through Mobile Internet- are playing a strategic role in accessing Web 2.0 applications such as social networking sites. Kaplan (2012) define mobile social media as a group of mobile marketing applications that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content. The audience for mobile social networking in the EU5 region (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK) grew 44 percent last year with 55.1 million mobile users in the EU5 accessing social networking sites or blogs via their mobile devices in September 2011 (Comscore, 2011). The same is true for developing areas such as Africa where mobile social networking sites access is growing at very high rates (Opera, 2008). Mobile phones increase the availability, frequency and speed of communication (Scharl et al., 2005). The ubiquity of mobile communications - anytime, everywhere- can encourage marketers to use social networks in their advertising campaigns. From a consumer’s perspective the unique characteristics of mobile phones, such as ubiquity, increase the likelihood of using social networks because now the consumer can access his profile and functionalities of the network – chat, pictures and video uploading, tagging, and so on- anytime, anywhere.

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