Restaurant Information Sharing on Social Networking Sites: Do Network Externalities Matter? [Summary]
This study adds to the theoretical body of knowledge about restaurant information–sharing behaviors through social networking sites’ (SNSs’) network externalities. A limited number of previous studies have considered SNSs’ network externalities as determinants of restaurant information sharing. Most previous research did not consider all representative network externality factors. This study dealt with four major constructs of network externalities and categorized them into direct and indirect network externalities to understand users’ motivations. Accordingly, differences between mechanisms and the relative importance of each network externality were found. The results indicated that network size, referent network size, complementarity, and compatibility were determinants of perceived benefits.
Based on the results of this study, SNS marketers need to increase both usefulness and enjoyment by enhancing SNSs’ network externalities, which are the driving force behind first mover advantages in the market. The study findings also indicate that users are more concerned with achieving their goals efficiently rather than having fun when they use SNSs for restaurant information–sharing purposes. These findings suggest that SNS managers need to deliver utilitarian benefits, such as providing various content and functions for searching and posting information.
The results of this study indicated that blogs and Facebook are the most influential channels among the various types of SNSs for approaching consumers. Therefore, other types of SNSs may need data service interworking functions, such as the ability to share links to blogs or Facebook, to guarantee the circulation of information and access to expanded information.
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