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Tell me who you are and I will tell you which SNS you use: SNSs participation

Tali Gazit (Department of Information Science, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel)
Noa Aharony (Department of Information Science, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel)
Yair Amichai-Hamburger (The Research Center for Internet Psychology (CIP), Sammy Ofer School of Communication, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 31 December 2019

Issue publication date: 22 January 2020

Abstract

Purpose

Social networking sites (SNSs) have become an essential part of our lives. The purpose of this paper is to explore how demographic variables, SNS importance, social and informational usage, and personality traits (extroversion/introversion, openness, neuroticism, internal and external locus of control) can explain participation frequency of the four biggest SNSs in Israel: Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter.

Design/methodology/approach

The research was conducted in Israel during the Fall semester of the 2017–2018 academic year and encompassed 244 students. Researchers used six questionnaires to gather data: a demographic questionnaire, a participation frequency questionnaire on four different SNSs, four SNSs importance questionnaire, social and informational usage on four different SNSs questionnaire, personality questionnaire (extroversion, openness and neuroticism) and the locus of control questionnaire.

Findings

The findings revealed that different social network sites play distinct roles for various individuals. WhatsApp, the most frequently used platform, is used more by women and people with internal locus of control. Facebook is more frequently used by open people and Instagram is more frequently used by women, younger adults and neurotic people. Twitter is more frequently used by men. In addition, for all SNSs, the higher the social and informational usage is, the more important the SNSs are to the users, which significantly explains participation frequency.

Originality/value

The differences between social networks can be evidence that each social network serves a different group and does not compete with other SNSs. This may well explain why many people make use of several social networks and have a tendency to move from one to another.

Keywords

Citation

Gazit, T., Aharony, N. and Amichai-Hamburger, Y. (2020), "Tell me who you are and I will tell you which SNS you use: SNSs participation", Online Information Review, Vol. 44 No. 1, pp. 139-161. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-03-2019-0076

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited