Social Network Influence on Online Behavioral Choices: Exploring Group Formation on Social Network Sites

Kyounghee Kwon, Michael A. Stefanone, George A. Barnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social media communication is characterized by reduced anonymity and off-to-online social interactions. These characteristics require scholars to revisit social influence mechanisms online. The current study builds on social influence literature to explore social network and gender effects on online behavior. Findings from a quasi-experiment suggest that both network-related variables and gender are significantly associated with online behavior. Perceived social environment, measured by personal network exposure rate, is more significant than objective reality, measured by frequency of received social messages, in determining behavior. We discuss the implications of social contagion effects on web-based strategic communication-including advertising, political campaigns, and social mobilization. Data limitations and the difficulty of measuring social network influence via social media are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1345-1360
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Volume58
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2014

Keywords

  • interpersonal influence
  • online social networks
  • personal network exposure
  • social contagion
  • social influence
  • social networking sites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

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