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Why people use social networking sites: An empirical study integrating network externalities and motivation theory

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Abstract

Fast-developing social networking sites (SNS) have become the major media by which people develop their personal network online in recent years. To explore factors affecting user's joining SNS, this study applies network externalities and motivation theory to explain why people continue to join SNS. This study used an online questionnaire to conduct empirical research, and collected and analyzed data of 402 samples by structural equation modeling (SEM) approach. The findings show that enjoyment is the most influential factor in people's continued use of SNS, followed by number of peers, and usefulness. The number of peers and perceived complementarity have stronger influence than the number of members on perceived benefits (usefulness and enjoyment). This work also ran clustering analysis by gender, which found notable difference in both number of peers and number of members between men and women. The number of peers is an important factor affecting the continued intention to use for women but not for men; the number of members has no significant effect on enjoyment for men. The findings suggest that gender difference also produces different influences. The implication of research and discussions provides reference for SNS operators in marketing and operation. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Lin, K. Y., & Lu, H. P. (2011). Why people use social networking sites: An empirical study integrating network externalities and motivation theory. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(3), 1152–1161. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2010.12.009

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