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Social network technology (SNT) as a tool and a social actor: from self-verification to SNT use

Jinyoung Min (Department of Business Administration, Chosun University, Gwangju, Republic of Korea)
Youngjin Yoo (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA)
Hyeyoung Hah (College of Business, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA)
Heeseok Lee (College of Business, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 3 July 2020

Issue publication date: 26 August 2020




Rather than viewing social network technology (SNT) as a mere tool to access a networked audience, we emphasize its role as both a means and a social actor to help verify people’s self-images in an online social context.


Drawing upon self-verification theory, this study investigates a mechanism of how users are willing to use SNTs continuously through the cognitive and affective reactions on two different SNTs. Structural equation modeling was used via data collected from 320 Facebook and 313 Twitter users.


Our results demonstrated that Facebook users regard it only as a useful tool for presenting self-images, while Twitter users are likely to feel an emotional attachment to technology as a social actor when ideal self-verification is gained, and that different types of SNTs create differential contexts for self-verification.

Research limitations/implications

This study suggests a new lens to understand SNT’s role as a social actor in the self-verification process, further identifying the SNT context in which SNT takes different roles.

Practical implications

In a certain SNT usage context, users are attached to SNTs, suggesting SNT providers consider features that enable SNT users to fulfill their own self-verification motives.


This study explores the roles of SNTs from a self-verification perspective. Our conceptualization of technology as a self-verifying social actor can further extend existing discussions on the role of SNT in response to self-verifying needs, while also promoting the continued use of SNTs in the future.



This study was supported by a research fund from Chosun University, 2018.


Min, J., Yoo, Y., Hah, H. and Lee, H. (2020), "Social network technology (SNT) as a tool and a social actor: from self-verification to SNT use", Internet Research, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 1329-1351.



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