Publication Date

2012-07-31

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2014-07-31

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Communication Studies (Communication)

Date of Defense

2012-05-08

First Committee Member

Michel Dupagne

Second Committee Member

Bruce Garrison

Third Committee Member

Cong Li

Fourth Committee Member

Nicholas Myers

Abstract

The last decade has witnessed a global plethora of social media. One unique social media innovation, microblogging, which combines the features of blogging, texting, and social networking sites, enables its users to post personal thoughts and opinions as well as connect to online and offline networks. Particularly, microblogging has experienced a remarkable growth in China because it not only offers a popular platform for social interactions, but also plays an essential role as an alternative news medium. Within the framework of Diffusion of Innovations theory, this study aimed to examine the five stages of microblogging’s innovation-decision process and identify the predictors of the first three stage--knowledge, persuasion, and decision--in order to build up a model for social media innovation-decision process. In November 2011, a survey questionnaire was completed by 2,801 Chinese college students in Beijing, China. Results from mixture modeling analyses validated the theoretical framework of five stages of the innovation-decision process. Respondents went through knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation about microblogging. Also, as suggested by Diffusion of Innovations theory, socioeconomic status, technology ownership, communication behavior including social participation, online media use, cosmopoliteness, and opinion leadership, perceived innovation attributes including relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, and observability, and personality traits including dogmatism and attitude toward change all exerted direct influences on the innovation-decision process to some extent. Concerns for privacy, one variable that is highly relevant to social media use behavior, also predicted the decision stage of microblogging. Findings of the current study provided both theoretical and practical implications. By following the innovation-decision process and integrating psychological factors, such as personality traits and concerns for privacy, this study proposed a research model for the social media innovation-decision process. Furthermore, this study also suggested that future research needs to incorporate more psychological factors and that marketing strategists for social media should take social participation, online media use, and concerns for privacy into consideration to attract and target potential users.

Keywords

Diffusion of Innovations Theory; Microblogging; Communication Technology Adoption; Concerns for Privacy; Personality Trait; Communication Behavior

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