Electronic Thesis/Dissertation



Online Social Networking (OSN) systems such as MySpace, Facebook and Friendster have achieved tremendous popularity. Little research has been done on factors motivating users to use and adopt OSN systems. The relationships between user characteristics and use/performance are not adequately addressed. This work examines how end user Computer Self-Efficacy (CSE) affects use of OSN systems. It investigates whether stronger computer skills relate to increased usage and participation in more complex OSN tasks, using a compilation of models. The concept of "fit" is used to determine whether there are user, task and/or systems characteristics that are associated with the best performance and usage levels. It is suggested that for some levels of self-efficacy in users of OSN systems, there may be a set of system conditions that combine to produce higher performance or use. It is anticipated that this analysis will increase the body of knowledge on usability and use of online systems, and will add value to developers of OSN and online systems. The results support all research propositions. There are direct relationships between CSE, task and system characteristics measured by performance and use. Task and system characteristics moderate effects of CSE, performance and use. Congruence of CSE, task and system characteristics have an effect on performance and use. Examination of the literature, qualitative and quantitative data suggests a viral model for adoption of OSN systems. The model proposes a limited number of users with high levels of CSE, combined with tenets of an epidemic model, may explain the rapid adoption of OSN systems.

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