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Social network sites: early adopters’ personality and influence

Theo Lynn (Irish Centre for Cloud Computing and Commerce, DCU Business School, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland)
Laurent Muzellec (Department of Marketing, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Dublin, Ireland)
Barbara Caemmerer (ESSCA School of Management, Boulogne-Billancourt, France)
Darach Turley (DCU Business School, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 20 March 2017



This paper aims to provide a social network site influence (SNSI) profile of early adopters. This study explores the relationship between personality traits of early adopters of social network sites (SNS), their propensity to share information and rumors and their general SNSI.


An online survey was sent to the first users of Twitter (n = 200) and Google+ (n = 130) to assess their personality traits. Answers of each respondent were matched to their SNSI scores from Klout and PeerIndex, the industry standard for measuring SNSI.


Early adopters of SNS, in comparison to market mavens, are more likely to exert influence on one particular topic related to their profession: technology and the internet. Their levels of extraversion, openness and conscientiousness have a positive and significant impact on information sharing, and a negative impact on rumor sharing. Both, information sharing and rumor sharing have a positive and significant impact on the general SNSI of early adopters.


Firms struggle to decide whether to invest early in the life of newly created SNS as they are unsure about the characteristics of early adopters of such networks, and, more importantly, whether these sites are effective initial vectors for word-of-mouth. The findings demonstrate that early adopters’ influence (SNSI score) is on par with that of the rest of SNS users, suggesting their influence may be somewhat limited. The study also shows that the opinion leadership impact of the more influential early adopters is monomorphic in nature, being mainly confined to the related technology and internet domains.



Lynn, T., Muzellec, L., Caemmerer, B. and Turley, D. (2017), "Social network sites: early adopters’ personality and influence", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 42-51.



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