Socio-economic and Communication Factors Influencing the Use of Online Social Networking Sites Among Teenagers in Kenya: a Survey of High School Students in Nairobi.
With the proliferation of online social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace among others, there has been a growing interest in understanding why people adopt and use this kind of communication platform. These social networks are emerging as a promising IT based business, with some services already being provided commercially such as Facebook. However, the whole process of showing how an individual actually decides to start using a social network service may be somehow different from current web - based community services. Hence, this paper aims at examining how individual characteristics influence actual user acceptance of social network services. The specific objectives of the study are to: 1.establish the communication and demographic characteristics of the youth in high schools in Nairobi, 2.find out the online social networking sites used by the youth in Nairobi, 3.identify the motivations and goals of the youth for using online social networking sites, 4.examine usage patterns of online social networking sites among the youths and 5.determine the role played by communication and socio-economic factors in influencing the usage of online social networking sites among the youth. To examine these individual characteristics, two theories were significant in the study. These were Technology Acceptance Model and Diffusion of innovations theory. In a nutshell, the study attempts to provide important contributions to the rapidly growing literature on online social relationships in general, and on youth networks in particular. Data was collected from 300 respondents using questionnaires, personal interviews and literature review sources. The data was analyzed using SPSS Version 17.0. The results support the social compensation approach to the study of online social relationship formation. The motivation for online friendship formation proved to be related to adolescents attempt to compensate for a lack of social support by using the internet for communication.
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