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Information Category and Information Adoption on Online Social Networks

Haseki, Muge (2010) Information Category and Information Adoption on Online Social Networks. pp. 199-200. In: Proceedings of the WebSci10: Extending the Frontiers of Society On-Line, April 26-27th, 2010, Raleigh, NC: US. ISBN 978-1-60558-799-8.

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Consumers have been increasingly using online social networks to gather information before their decision making. Previous studies have examined the factors that influence the willingness of opinion seekers to accept and adopt online consumer reviews. However, there is no research demonstrating relative importance of these factors in regard to different categories of information. Specifically, it is not known whether each factor applies to all categories of information (e.g., health, financial, consumer goods) and which factors are more important for certain categories of information. It is crucial to know the relative value of these factors to provide advice to the organizers of online communities in order to help them better manage their web site for presenting useful information. Extensive use of the internet provides potential opportunities for marketers to convey their messages to the consumers on the internet. Among various variables that affect the information adoption of consumers on the internet, electronic media--such as online discussion forums, electronic bulletin board systems, newsgroups, blogs, review sites, and social networking sites (Goldsmith & Horowitz, 2006)--might play an important role due to “the relative ease of interaction with others in cyberspace” (Shang, Chen & Liao, 2006, p.399). Research shows that most consumers perceive online opinions to be as trustworthy as brand websites (Nielson, 2007). Even more, information presented on internet forums may have greater credibility than media-generated information (Bickart & Schindler, 2001). Also, there is considerable evidence that information from a source that is perceived to be more trustworthy can lead to greater persuasiveness of that information (Wilson & Sherrell, 1993). These studies indicate the great potential impact online social networks can have on information adoption and decision making process. The increasing role of online social networks has made researchers focus their studies on the factors that influence information adoption of online opinion seekers. Cheung, Lee and Rabjohn (2008) examined several factors--including relevance, timeliness, accuracy, comprehensiveness, source credibility--and found information relevance and information comprehensiveness to be the most vital elements for influencing information usefulness and information adoption within an online consumer community. However, there might be differences in the relative importance of these factors across information categories, which in turn might influence the information adoption of online opinion seekers. Perceived risks inherent in anonymous information can play an important role in the adoption of online information. Consumer perceptions of risks inherent in product adoption and usage have been studied by earlier scholars (e.g., Dowling & Staelin, 1994). These studies showed that perceived risk is considered a prominent barrier to consumer acceptance of services. However, these studies have not been applied to the context of online social networks. More specifically, postings or comments of other consumers on online networks might affect the perceived risks of information in different ways. Consumers might give more importance to some factors (e.g., comprehensiveness) over others to adapt information that has higher risk than information that is less risky. It is important to find out the relative value of each factor to influence the adoption of high and low risky information through online social networks. This paper discusses the relative importance of factors in regards to the different information category, which influence the willingness of opinion seekers to accept and adopt online consumer reviews. By exploring the fundamental relationships between information category and information adoption factors, we can enhance our understanding of the impact of information type on the attitude generation process. This understanding would enable us to better design systems that focus on the type of information users are likely to share, participate, and adopt.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Uncontrolled Keywords:online networks, perceived risks, information adoption
Subjects:Web Science Events > Web Science 2010
ID Code:369
Deposited By: W S T Administrator
Deposited On:15 Mar 2010 10:18
Last Modified:25 Oct 2011 16:11

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