Understanding the sustainability of micro-blogging sites : an investigation of users' quality perceptions and continuance intentions

微博的可持續性 : 研究用戶的質量感知和持續使用意圖

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

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  • Wanying XU

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Awarding Institution
Award date3 Oct 2012


Micro-blog is a new form of social communication service which allows users to post short contents on the Web through a variety of devices like smart phones, tablets, and PCs. Yet, its dramatic growth in the past few years is not likely to save it from competition and exempt its slowing growth. It's a great concern for micro-blogging sites to maintain its existing users. This study tries to explain the sustainability of micro-blogging sites from users' perspective, as it depends on users' behavior of continuance or not. While numerous studies have investigated users' adoption intention, few of them focus on users' post-adoption intention: continuance intention. Thus this research aims to answer two questions: (1) What are the salient factors contributing to users' continuance intention with micro-blogs? (2) How do these salient factors influence microblogging sites users' continuance intention? In this thesis, a research model was proposed to investigate the factors contributing to users' continuance intention of using micro-blogging sites. Building on the Information Systems (IS) Continuance Model, Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and Motivation Theory, this thesis proposed three antecedents for users' continuance intention, including perceived usefulness, satisfaction, and perceived enjoyment. Besides explaining users' continuance intention, this research also tried to find out the quality of micro-blogging sites that would lead to users' perception of ease of use, usefulness, and enjoyableness. Thus, following the IS success model and social capital theory, three types of micro-blogging sites' quality were proposed, including system quality, information quality, and social capital. All in all, by employing the IS Continuance Model, TAM, Motivation Theory, IS Success Model, and Social Capital Theory, this research examined seven factors which have direct or indirect effects on micro-blogs users' continuance intention. Face-to-face interviews as well as an online survey were employed to collect data for the test of the proposed model. To get an initial understanding of micro-blogs users' continuance intention, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 11 interviewees. And then an online survey study was carried out by distributing the questionnaire on Amazon's Mechanical Turk (MTurk). The data was analyzed using Partial Least Squares (PLS), and the results provided support for 11 out of the 12 hypotheses. In detail, the effect of satisfaction on users' continuance intention is supported in this study, which means satisfied users are more willing to continue to use the micro-blogs. Besides, users' perceived usefulness of the micro-blogging sites has a significant effect on users' continuance intention. This result pointed out the importance of providing utilitarian value to users even though micro-blogs are usually used in free time or at home. Furthermore, the results have confirmed that: (1) micro-blogs' system quality is positively related with users' perceived ease of use and (2) both information quality and social capital have significant effects on users' perception of usefulness as well as perceived enjoyment. Contrary to our expectation, users' perception on the enjoyment of using the micro-blogging sites fails to have a significant direct effect on continuance intention. Several possible explainations concerning the result were later discussed in the paper. This thesis entails significant implications for both research and practice. In terms of research, it provides a better understanding for the underlying mechanism of how users form their continuance intention toward micro-blogs. It also identifies micro-blogging sites' critical characteristics, which would contribute to users' beliefs towards the micro-blogs. For practice, it offers design guidelines for practitioners to sustain their existing users and micro-blogging sites.

    Research areas

  • Microblogs