Social Networking Sites (SNSs) are a pervasive phenomenon in today’s society. With greater connectivity and interactivity enabled via web technologies, SNSs provide communication platforms for individuals to bridge geographical and temporal differences when making friends, sharing experiences, socializing with others and much more. This thesis therefore endeavors to shed light on this problem by decomposing members’ motives for participating within SNSs into identity-based, bond-based and comparison- based attachments. Each of these forms of attachment in turn affects members’ cooperative and competitive mentality towards participation within SNSs. In addition, it is further posited in this thesis that members’ identity-based, bond-based and comparison- based attachment within SNSs can be induced through the presence of deindividuation, personalization and tournament technologies respectively. From this premise, a theoretical model of members’ attachment within SNSs is constructed with testable hypotheses. The model is then empirically validated in two stages. In the first stage, content analysis was performed on contemporary SNSs to elicit technological features that can be readily categorized as deindividuation, personalization and tournament technologies. In the second stage, an online questionnaire was administered on a sample of 787 active members of SNSs to solicit their responses on the extent to which these elicited technological features drive members’ communal attachments within and mentality towards SNSs. Theoretical contributions and pragmatic implications to be gleaned from the empirical findings are discussed.
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Thesis advisor: Cyr, Dianne
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