The rapid growth of online social network services (SNSs) leads to new research questions. Unlike in other online communities, people in SNSs expect to gratify social-emotional needs rather than informational needs, and they are connected in a person-to-person manner which is more direct and interpersonal. The author argued that the factors influencing members’ public posting in SNSs differ from those in traditional online communities. Interpersonal intimacy was postulated to influence lurking behaviors in SNSs. To investigate the relationship between intimacy level and posting frequency in SNSs, an online survey was conducted in Wallop, a SNS provided by Microsoft. Responses (102) were collected, in which the first 40 posters and the first 40 lurkers were selected for statistical analysis. The result shows significant differences exist in both verbal and affective intimacy level between lurkers and posters. The level of verbal intimacy and the level of affective intimacy are positively correlated with posting frequency. The result of discriminant analysis shows that verbal intimacy and affective intimacy are useful for discriminating posting/lurking groups of users. In addition, significant gender differences in perceived intimacy and posting behaviors were found. The result implies that people lurk in SNSs because they believe that their social-emotional needs may not be satisfied even if they post.
Computers in Human Behavior – Elsevier
Published: Sep 17, 2008
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