22 October 2019

Research pick: Engaging Facebook users - "User engagement in social media – empirical results from Facebook"

If social media technology is to evolve and improve its utility still further, then we need theory building and a better understanding of user engagement behaviour. These are fundamental to developing future approaches and effective organisational deployment, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Information Technology and Management.

Rupak Rauniar of the Department of Operations and Supply Chain Management at the University of Houston-Downtown, Texas, and colleagues Ronald Salazar of the University of Houston-Victoria, also in Texas, Greg Rawski and Donald Hudson of the University of Evansville, Indiana, USA, have undertaken a study of almost 400 users of one of the most familiar online social media systems, Facebook. They used the theory of reasoned action to study empirically predictors of intention to engage on the site.

“Our results suggest that perceived value, social presence, interactivity, and trustworthiness are positively related to the user’s attitude towards social media,” the team writes. “The research model shows promise for use by managers and organisations to predict and understand the usage of social media in a target population.”

The team points out that earlier studies looking at engagement involved conventional data processing of end-user computing environments and general e-commerce sites. The present study goes beyond such approaches and points the way forward for those hoping to extend engagement among users of social media sites and mobile applications, apps. The next step will be to carry out a similar study with other systems such as Twitter and Youtube to determine in what ways the conclusions from the present research might be generalized.

“As scientific research in the area of social media is still rare, we encourage practitioners and researchers to seek out new research questions in developing future theories in the area of social media,” the team concludes.

Rauniar, R., Rawski, G., Salazar, R.J. and Hudson, D. (2019) ‘User engagement in social media – empirical results from Facebook’, Int. J. Information Technology and Management, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp.362–388.

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