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The purpose of this paper is to elaborate on how people navigate the social media ecosystem and how they decide, which social network site (SNS) to use. To this end, the current study draws from uses and gratifications (U&G) theory to elicit and compare motives for the use of Facebook and Twitter and uses behavioral data to examine the findings in the context of technology non-use.Design/methodology/approachAn online survey was administered to 232 Facebook users and the results were complemented with 12 usage variables collected via the Facebook application programing interface for the same users. Exploratory factor analysis identified and described the motives for using Facebook and Twitter and multiple regression models examined the relationships between the motives for using the two sites. A multivariate analysis of variance and a series of t-tests investigated the differences in actual behavior between Twitter users and non-users.FindingsResults suggest that SNS users will use both sites to gratify their need for information, but will only do so for entertainment that has social characteristics. Furthermore, Facebook users that are more embedded in the site and use the site to support their offline life are more likely to also use Twitter.Practical implicationsThe paper includes implications for SNS researchers, designers and managers by highlighting the motivational and behavioral differences between users of the two sites and the importance of technological affordances for understanding and explaining SNS selection.Originality/valueThis study extends previous cross-site U&G and non-use research by combining survey and behavioral data.
Journal of Systems and Information Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 17, 2020
Keywords: Social network sites; Uses and gratifications; Facebook; Twitter; Media selection; Non-use; Facebook API; Behavioral data; Technology affordances
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