Wednesday, 8 March 2017

What makes users share content on Facebook? Compatibility among psychological incentive, social capital focus, and content type

an article by Pei-Wen Fu, Chi-Cheng Wu and Yung-Jan Cho (National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung Taiwan published in Computers in Human Behavior Volume 67 (February 2017)

  • Psychological incentives influence message sharing intention in social network.
  • Communal incentive motivates sharing of lifestyle affairs and personal opinions.
  • Self-interest incentive helps to spread commercial messages and lifestyle affairs.
  • Focus on bridging social capital might inhibit self-interest incentive.
  • Messages designed with compatible incentives and focuses would propagate faster.

Even though a large amount of content is shared on Facebook, what makes Facebook users share content has not been thoroughly addressed in previous studies.

Rather than treating Facebook as just another online social media, this study focused on Facebook users’ psychological incentives for content sharing and examined how users’ social capital focus and content types influenced the effect of incentives.

Using both qualitative (focus group interview) and quantitative (online survey) methods, we obtained several findings. Both self-interest and communal incentive could drive Facebook users’ content-sharing intention, but their effects depended on the content types.

Further, the effects of self-interest incentives were found only among the users who focus on their close friends (bonding-focus), but not among those who focus on the distant friends (bridging-focus). Brand marketers can utilize these results to post content on Facebook effectively.

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