Proposing the dual-process model to better explain self-disclosure on online social networking sites

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Purpose – Researchers continue to address the concept of self-disclosure because it is foundational for helping social networking sites (SNS) function and thrive. Nevertheless, our literature review indicates that uncertainty remains around the underlying mechanisms and factors involved in the self-disclosure process. The purpose of this research is to better understand the self-disclosure process from the lens of dual-process theory (DPT). We consider both the controlled factors (i.e., self-presentation and reciprocity) and an automatic factor (i.e., social influence to use an SNS) involved in self-disclosure and broaden our proposed model to include the interactive facets of enjoyment. Design/methodology/approach – The proposed model was empirically validated by conducting a survey among users of WeChat Moments in China. Findings – As hypothesized, this research confirms that enjoyment and automatic processing (i.e., social influence to use an SNS) are complementary in the SNS self-disclosure process, and enjoyment negatively moderates the positive relationship between controlled factor (i.e., self-presentation) and self-disclosure. Originality/value – Theoretically, this study offers a new perspective in explaining the SNS self-disclosure by adopting DPT. Specifically, this study contributes to the extant SNS research by applying DPT to examine how the controlled factors and the automatic factor shape self-disclosure processes, and how enjoyment influences vary across these processes—enriching knowledge about SNS self-disclosure behaviors. Practically, we provide important design guidelines to practitioners concerning devising mechanisms to foster more automatic-enjoyable value-added functions to improve SNS users’ participation and engagement.



35 Commerce, management, tourism and services, 46 Information and computing sciences, Social networking sites