Printer Friendly

Inclination of youth towards social networking sites: a three-nation exploration.

Introduction

There is a growing usage of internet all over the world. According to ComScore Networks, seven hundred and thirteen million people ages fifteen and older (representing fourteen percent of the global population) used the Internet in June 2006 (Lipsman, 2006, cited in Hinduja and Patchin, 2001: 126). Within the user groups there is a growing population engaging in social networking sites.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Social networking sites being a fairly recent development have become a dynamic communication tool mainly popular among youth. Considering this perspective, the study explores the concept of social networking sites and its usage pattern among youth of three different nations: India, Nepal and Maldives.

1.1 Social Networking Sites

The popularity of social networking sites are growing day by day and now it has become a revolutionized way of communication among youth. In a recent study it was mentioned that 'one hundred million people have joined the cyber socializing revolution in 2006' (www.voanew.com, accessed on 22 July 2008).

Social networking sites have been defined in several literatures. An internet-based social network can accordingly be considered a virtual community, consisting of characteristics such as: 'using common language and ease of communication; public space; common interests, values, and goals, persistence of common meaning; use of information technology for interaction, not physical space; overcoming time and space barriers; and using digitized identities as a substitute for physical being' (Wang and Chen, 2004, p. 4). Similarly it has been defined as 'web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system' (Boyd and Ellison, 2007, http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html).

Many social networking sites has emerged over the years, refer to the depiction provided below.

World's top five social networking sites with countries where they are most popular include Facebook (U.S., Canada, U.K.), Hi5 (Peru, Thailand, Dominican Republic), Orkut (Brazil, India, U.S.), Myspace (U.S., U.K., France), Friendster (Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore) Forward2, 2008, p18). These sites allow users to create their page, add friends and communicate with them by comment posted on their respective pages. Users are able to build a network of connections that they can display as a list of friends.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

The rapid growth of social networking sites during the last four years projected that they have successfully created a virtual relationship among youth ages thirteen to twenty two (Raskin, 2006, 56). However, other researchers describe the virtual relationship among youth from eighteen to thirty five. Social networking sites and their relation with youth has become an area of growing interest for researchers. They are interested to know why youth are joining these sites. Most of the existing studies related with this area are confined to western world. The proposed study will be based on findings of a three- nation study with stated objectives. Hence, this study will add value and provide scope for further research possibilities in respective nations. For our research, we have selected popular sites on the basis of our pre-pilot study with young students in India, Nepal and Maldives. We also noticed from our pre pilot study that students from all three nations have identified sites that are general in nature ,with at least 10 million visitors worldwide .

1.2 Objectives

* To explore and identify the reasons behind users' interest to join a social networking site

* To assess user expectations from social networking sites.

* To investigate the advantages and disadvantages that users' are getting.

* To analyze the pattern of usage of some of the existing social networking sites.

Literature Review

The literature review given below focuses on different research studies done in the past in the relevant area. The literature review has been divided into three main sections based on the main three objectives of the study.

2.1 Reasons Behind Users' Interest to Join Social Networking Sites and Their Expectations From Those Sites

Surveys on use of social networking sites indicate that people join and partake in social networking websites for various reasons, such as to stay in touch with friends, make plans with friends, make new friends, or flirt with someone (Lenhart and Madden, 2007, cited in Gangadharbatla, 2007,7).

According to Madhavan (2007), while MySpace attracted the majority of media attention in the USA and other European countries, a number of social networking sites were also proliferating and growing popular in other parts of the world. The study showed that Friendster gained traction in the Pacific Islands; Orkut became the premier social networking site in Brazil before growing rapidly in India. Refer to Table 1 below for worldwide growth of usage of some key social networking sites:

Similarly, a study by Andrew Lipsman (2007) reported that literally hundreds of millions of people around the world are visiting social networking sites each month and many are doing so on a daily basis. This would indicate that use of social networking sites is not a fad but rather an activity that is being woven into the very fabric of the global Internet.

Further to add to the growing appeal of social networking sites among youth, a study published by Ofcom (2008) reflected that younger users said they preferred social networking sites which offered simplicity, visual fun and entertainment (e.g. Bebo and MySpace). The youth generally had more time to spend on these sites and tended to be more experimental in how they used them and what they posted in the sites.

Moreover, Boyd (2007) argued that the reason why the youths joined these sites are deeply rooted in how the social networking sites support sociality amongst preexisting friend groups. While socializing drives certain kinds of engagement with the sites, the high incidence of teens with Internet access at home offers another plausible explanation for the long hours they spend in the sites.

The present study also exhibited that the reasons for youth to join social networking sites as similar appeal as identified in the existing literature. Some of the major reasons to join the sites being "ease of keeping in contact with friends and reaching many people at the same time, meeting new people, keeping up with favourite bands, adding applications such as games, quizzes and virtual gift giving."

The available research put forward the view that most social networking sites primarily support pre-existing social relations. And, Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe (2007) suggest that Facebook is used to maintain existing offline relationships or solidify offline connections, as opposed to meeting new people. These relationships may be weak ties, but typically there is some common offline element among individuals who befriend one another, such as in a shared class at school.

Above mentioned evidences are further supported by our pre-pilot study, where the majority of the respondents indicated several reasons for their of interest into joining social networking sites as given in the following section:

2.2 Advantages and disadvantages

A Number of existing studies have exhibited the advantage and disadvantage of use of social networking sites. Also, one of the main objectives of the present study is to identify various advantages as well as disadvantages of these sites among the youth of India, Nepal and Maldives.

2.2.1 Advantages

Users of social networking sites are aware of various advantages associated with these sites. They readily accept that these sites are the means of communication and connection with one another. Research has shown that online communication fosters relationship building, improving communication between parties, and consistently documents users' differences in online communication (Raacke and Bonds-Raache, 2008, 169).

In addition to the advantages explained above, social networking sites also provide a variety of services, for example, they allow any individual to quickly and easily post a web page that serves as a digital representation of one's self, his or her interests, personal style, affiliations, likes and dislikes. Moreover, the sites enable the users to post and link to pictures, videos, and audio with relative ease. According to Hinduja and Patchin (2008, 130), the communication features within the sites facilitate expedient interaction among a population who wants to receive or send information quickly, and while engaged in multiple other online tasks.

The above statement can be further strengthened by a study carried out by Kaiser Family Foundation (Roberts, Foehr and Rideout, 2005, cited in Nyland, Marvez and Beck, 2006) that describe the lives of youth as being "media saturated." They are exposed to multiple sources of media at once. For this reason they have been dubbed by the Foundation as "The Multi-tasking generation".

Besides being extremely popular among college students, social networking sites have also contributed to fulfill the users' social needs. The facts equally evident from our pre-pilot study (refer to the table below) which reflected that the social networking sites help the users to keep in touch with their friends circle to satisfy their need to be together and socialize. Ellison, Steinfield, and Lamp (2006, cited in Nyland, Marvez and Beck, 2006) found that youths who intensely used social networking sites reported higher levels of bonding, bridging, and high school social capital.

2.2.2 Disadvantages

With presence of number of advantages, social networking sites are not completely free from disadvantages. To name a few, ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency) outlines a series of commercial, corporate and social/individual 'threats' raised by social networking sites. They describe the threats in technological terms and raise the issue of the difficulty of deleting entries, identity theft as well as cyberstalking, cyber bullying, alc ohol and drug ab use (Associated Press, 2006c; Usher, 2006); hate crimes (Edds, Lawhon, and Miller, 2006); planned or executed bombings (USA Today, 2006; Usher, 2006); planned school shootings (ABC News, 2006); suicide (Associated Press, 2006b); and even murder (Hoover, 2006).

Further, adding to the disadvantage of use of social networking sites, Livingstone (2008) mentioned social networking as a time-wasting and socially isolating activity . The study also suggested that at worst it allows paedophiles to groomlure children in their bedroom or sees teenagers lured into suicide pacts while parents think they are doing their homework.

A recent survey from Get Safe Online found that "Over 10.8 million people across UK are registered to a social networking site. Of these, one in four have posted confidential or personal information such as their phone number, address or email, on their online profile, making them vulnerable to identity fraud." The research also found that 13 percent of social networkers have posted information or photos of other people online without their consent. According to the study, this trend is strongest amongst younger users, with twenty seven percent of eighteen to twenty four year-olds admitting that they have posted information, photos of other people without their consent online.

Meanwhile, a study by Noguchi (2006) suggested that time spent by people on social networking sites only contributes to their workload. Further stressing on disadvantage of use of these sites, the study exhibited that many users of Myspace seem to be closing their accounts because they feel that they aren't receiving enough face-to-face interaction, or that the interaction that they have online isn't as meaningful.

Our pre-pilot study also clearly stated that for majority of students using social networking sites was much more than just a functional activity. Refer to the table below for more detail result of pre-pilot study.

A view on statistics released by Audit Bureau of Circulation revealed that Teen Magazines sector has experienced a decline in sales by 8.7 percent. Analyst states that the decline has resulted in the impact of the internet and the popularity of social networking sites (U.K. research by Whitefield and Jennifer, Feb 2008).

To sum up , 'Social networking is what being a teenager is about," said Kenda Creasy Dean, associate professor of youth, church and culture and director of the Tennent School of Christian Education at Princeton Theological Seminary. "For people my age [in their forties], technology is a tool. For kids, technology is the air they breathe. It's social glue." (National Catholic Reporter, Nov. 2006).

Methodology

3.1 Data collection

Data collection process started with a pre-pilot study to gather a basic understanding about the subject matter and social networking sites. Pre-pilot study included open-ended questions about inclination of youth towards social networking sites and it was collected through email from fifteen respondents. The pre-pilot study itself helped in designing the research questionnaire for this study. The pre-pilot study indicated that students from all three nations preferred common sites with at least ten million visitors world-wide, they are Myspace, Facebook, Hi5, Friendster and Orkut. Prior use of the survey instrument for the final study, validity check of the questionnaire was carried out and expert views were incorporated to improve the design of the survey instrument. Using the design instrument (as the basis for primary data collection) and other secondary data the complete data set for the study was generated. The primary data used was are collected based on self-administered questionnaire through email from the selected respondents from India, Nepal and Maldives. This method of data collection was chosen for two reasons. Firstly, the survey is about online social networking sites users, so the researchers implied that all respondents are internet savvy. Secondly, 'email surveys is quicker turnaround than the postal or face-to-face questionnaire, thus raising data quality by securing timely data' (Fielding et al, 2008: 89) Secondary data was obtained through published and non-published material mainly from online journals, social networking sites, books and informal interactions with the users.

3.2 Sample

The sample was selected because the three researchers involved in this study belonged to the referred three countries. The survey was carried out online and the survey forms were sent to different institutes of the respective countries. India, Nepal and Maldives population, literacy rate and age structure is depicted in the table below:

Non-probability convenience sampling was used to choose the institutes and the respondents. For the purpose the study the data was collected from ninety respondents equally distributed among three countries. However, for the purpose of analysis eighty nine responses were considered. All the respondents were graduate and postgraduate students, both male and female with age group ranging from seventeen to thirty two years.

Analysis and Findings

This section is organized according to the results pertaining to the participants who are the users of social networking sites. The results obtained from analysis, using Excel and SPSS package mainly concentrate on mean comparison, one-way ANOVA and Factor-Analysis.

Of the eighty nine participants surveyed, the sample constituted of 61.8 percent male (55 male) and 38.2 percent female (thirty four female). Age wise distribution suggested that ninteen percent respondents are from seventeen to twenty two age groups, sixty nine percent from twenty three to twenty seven age groups and remaining twelve percent from twenty eight to thirty two age groups.

4.1 General Analysis

As the research objective focused on the use of social networking sites and youth inclination toward the social networking sites, the first attempt was made to identify the hours spent on social networking sites. As shown below, thirty three percent of the respondents spend one to two hours on social networking sites, whereas thirteen percent spent two-three hours.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

When the hours spent on social networking sites were compared in terms of nations, the following results emerged. The chart illustrated Maldivian youth spending more hours on social networking sites in comparison to India and Nepal.

Even though Maldivian youth spend longer hours on social networking sites, rating for importance is similar in the three countries. High percentage of respondents from all three nations opined social networking sites as important.

The importance itself supported by the number of social networking youth is using. As evident, from the chart below thirty three percent youth have five social networking sites.

From the pre-pilot and the main survey 5 popular social networking sites (Facebook, Orkut, Hi5, Friendster and Myspace) appears in the three countries. The charts below illustrates the usage patterns of five social networking sites in three countries.

4.2 Mean Comparison and ANOVA

Based on the general findings (4.1) the mean comparisons was conducted to determine reasons to join social networking sites, ease of use of social networking sites, expectation on the use of social networking sites and disadvantages of social networking sites with respect to nationality, gender and age.

Reasons to Join Social Networking Sites

The popular reasons to join social networking sites were identified through mean comparison. From the comparison it is visible that Nepalese female, Indian male and female considered 'reconnecting with old friend(s) who have lost contact' as most important reason to join social networking sites with mean 4.79 for Nepalese female, 4.45 for Indian male and 5 for Indian female. Whereas, for Maldivian males and females the preferred reasons to join social networking sites where 'communicating with friends', with mean 4.56 and 4.92 respectively. In addition, Maldivian males rated 'reconnecting with old friend(s) who have lost contact' as high priority reason with equal mean as 'communicating with friends' dimension. Likewise, Nepalese male are interested to 'reconnect with old friends (Mean =4.33) and 'communicate with friends' (Mean =4.33).

For further explanation, one-way ANOVA has been conducted for each of the items (reasons). Researchers' wanted to see whether there is any difference between Indian, Nepalese and Maldivian youths' in terms of reasons to join social networking sites. It is evident from the table that in case of 'entertain myself' (P=.023), 'share videos/pictures/ music' (P=.037), 'business purpose' (P=.014), and 'make new friends' (P=.001) differences exists. Similarly when researchers compared Nepal with other two countries 'leisure/time pass' (P=.032) and 'educational purpose' (P=.004) were found to be different from the other two countries. Further in case of Maldives, in comparison to other two countries some interesting results evolved which reflected that 'communicating with family' (P=.026), 'communicating with friends' (P=.027), 'leisure/ time pass' (p=.002) 'entertain myself' (P=.005), 'make new friends' (P=.000) and 'exploring the possibility of future relationships' (P=.013) were different. Though 'entertain myself', 'leisure/ time pass' and 'making new friends' were common in all three countries. Thus, it can be inferred that there are common reasons for which youth of three countries are joining social networking sites. Regardless of the commonalities certain differences exists in the case of Maldives which could be argued I terms of cultural differences.

Ease of Use of Social Networking Sites

With respect to ease to join social networking sites Indian females preferred 'changing themes' (mean =4.50), than 'adding/removing pictures', and 'ease of access to friends and family' both with the mean of 4.38. In case of Nepalese females 'ease of access to friends and family', 'ease to register' with mean equal to 4.29, followed by 'adding or removing pictures' with mean 4.14 were found to be important. However, in case of Maldivian female users 'ease of access to friends and family' were found to be most important with the mean of 4.25 followed by 'adding and removing pictures' and 'removing items or posts' both with the mean of 4.08. In case of Indian male 'ease of access to friends and family' which was the second important variable for Indian females considered to be most important variable here with the mean of 4.14, followed by 'ease to register' with a mean of 4.09. In case of Nepalese male users 'ease to register' with mean 4.33 was the most important variable followed by 'ease of access to friends and family' with 4.27 mean. Similarly, comparing Maldivian males, it is evident that 'ease of access to friends and family' again got the highest priority with a mean of 4.44 along with 'adding/removing picture' with the same mean.

From the above analysis we may infer that 'ease of access to friends and family', 'adding/removing pictures' were the most common variables in terms of user friendliness and ease of use with regard to all three nations. As ANOVA analysis suggested that Maldivian users in comparison to other nation users have different opinion regarding 'ease to register' (with P=.036) and 'removing items' (with P=.047).

Features Relevance and Expectation on the Use of Social Networking Sites

Descriptive statistics for the features relevance and expectations represents that for Indian females 'scrapping/ message posting' is the most relevant feature (mean= 4.62), whereas for Indian males the same is the most relevant feature with lesser mean 4.32. In addition, to this Indian male also give higher priority to 'block unwanted users' (mean= 4.32). In case of Nepalese female users 'block unwanted users' emerges as the most relevant feature followed by 'sharing picture' (mean 4.07) which was the most relevant feature in case of Nepalese male. Interesting to add that Nepalese male gave second priority to 'blocking unwanted users'. In case of Maldivian female totally different results emerged from the descriptive analysis. For the Maldivian male and female 'personalising ones profile' was considered as the most relevant feature (mean= 4.67) for both.

ANOVA results for assessing feature relevancy and nationality showed no difference between Indian and Nepalese users opinion, however Maldivian respondents as in the earlier case, depicted different opinion regarding 'sharing videos' (P=.006) and 'personalising ones profile' (p=.001).

Analysis of variance in terms of expectations from social networking sites in future with nationality and gender suggested that in case of 'diverse applications' (P=.046) Maldivian youth has different expectations about this.

Disadvantages of Using Social Networking Sites

Regarding the disadvantages, all three nation users (including both female and male) considered social networking sites as an 'addiction'. For Indian users 'addiction' (with mean 3.70), for Nepalese users (mean =3.76) and Maldivian users (mean= 4.20). For Maldivian females 'lack of face-to-face interaction' emerged as highly disadvantageous. Nepalese females also reflected that using social networking sites create a 'lack of face-to -face interaction' which is the second disadvantage for them. Nepalese male considered this as the most disadvantageous (mean =3.0).

To substantiate the above results, one-way ANOVA was conducted to evaluate each disadvantage item with respect to three nations separately. For Nepalese users 'time consuming' (p = 0.000) and 'ground for sexual predators' (p = 0.034) were significant at 0.05. However, in case of Indian youth, 'lack of face-to-face interaction' showed significant result (p = 0.019). Similarly, for Maldivian youth 'time consuming' (p = 0.001) and 'lack of face-to-face interaction' (p = 0.006) was significant at 95 percent of confidence level.

In addition, a percentage analysis has been carried out to find out the disadvantages of social networking sites (see chart below). Social networking site drawbacks greatly felt by Maldivian youth include 'time consumption', 'addiction' and 'lack of face-to-face interaction'. However, the stated disadvantages are felt to a lesser extent by the other two countries. Nepalese youth perspective in terms of disadvantage is reflective from 'addiction' and 'lack of face-to face interaction'. Likewise, the Indian youth reflected disadvantage in terms of 'time consumption' and 'addiction'. The lowest score illustrative from the chart (for all the three countries) lies in cyberbullying.

[FIGURE 11 OMITTED]

Apart from the above mentioned analysis, two-way ANOVA was carried out taking age and gender as the independent variable to find out the effect of social networking site on the number of friends. The results showed that F-statistics corresponding to nationality was 8.862 which was significant at p<0.001. F-statistics for gender was 0.415 which was insignificant as p value was equal to 0.521. Also, the interaction between nationality and gender was insignificant. Therefore, in this case, the null hypothesis (nationality and gender have no relation on number of friends at social networking sites) was partially supported.

4.1 Factor Analysis

Factor Analysis has been carried out to find out the underlying dimensions for reasons to join social networking sites, ease to join and disadvantages. The following results from factor analysis throws light on above mentioned aspects.

Reasons to Join Social Networking Sites

Communalities

Table-VI explains the extraction communalities which are useful as these are obtained using the extracted factors. In the present research seventy nine percent of the variance in 'Entertain myself' is explained by the extracted factors. It is also useful to note seventy five percent of the variance in 'communicate with friends' is explained by the extracted factors.

It is also important to note that out of thirteen variables, four factors can explain the 64.22 percent of the variance. Total variance explained can be seen in the following table. It is important to note from the table that four variables have Eigen value of more than 1.

Above table clearly depicts that with the help of factor analysis researchers are able to find out the underlying following four dimensions. It is clear that 'communicate with family', 'communicate with friends' and 'reconnect with old friends' which has similar factor loading can be grouped together as one factor. Similarly, 'leisure/timepass', 'entertain oneself', and 'convenience' can be grouped as one factor. Further, variables like 'business purpose', 'educational purpose' and 'keep up to date with social happenings/events' can be a part of one factor. And, lastly, 'share video/ pictures/music', 'explore possibility of a future relationship', 'make new friends' are part of one factor. Thus, researchers can infer that broad reasons of respondents' inclination towards social networking sites are 'communication purpose', 'entertaining', 'valuable' and 'features ease'.

Ease of use of Social Networking Sites

Communalities

Table-IX explains the extraction communalities which are useful as these are obtained using the extracted factors. In the present research 82.3 percent of the variance in 'ease to register' is explained by the extracted factors. It is also useful to note 80.1 percent of the variance in 'remove items/posts' is explained by the extracted factors.

From the above table it is clear that three variables are explaining the sixty nine percent of variance with Eigen value more than 1.

Above mentioned rotation table represents that 'find information', 'add/remove pictures', 'can edit privacy settings' and 'remove items/posts' can be grouped together as one factor namely 'personal posting ease'. Similarly, 'ease to register'; 'ease to access to friends; and family' can be grouped together as second factor namely 'access ease'. Third factor consisted of 'change themes' and 'create something of my own' variable which can be named as 'creativity'.

Disadvantages of Using Social Networking Sites

Communalities

Table-XII explains the extraction communalities which are useful as these are obtained using the extracted factors. In the present research eighty two percent of the variance in 'cyberbullying' is explained by the extracted factors. It is also useful to note 71.8 percent and 71.4 percent of the variance in 'ground for sexual predators' and 'cyberstalking' is explained by the extracted factors.

It is also important to note that out of six variables, two factors can explain the 63.30 percent of the variance. It is important to note from the table that two variables have Eigen value of more than 1.

Table-XIV clearly depicts that with the help of factor analysis researchers are able to find out the underlying two dimensions. It is clear that 'time consuming' and 'addiction' has similar factor loading can be grouped together as one factor, namely 'addiction'. Similarly the variables: 'ground for sexual predators', 'cyberbullying', 'lack of face-to-face interaction' and 'cyberstalking', can be grouped as one factor namely 'cyber harassment'.

Results obtained from the factor analysis are supported by the following qualitative research analysis.

4.4 Comments on Actual Gains From Social Networking Sites

Upon asking about the actual gains from using social networking sites from the respondents in the form of open-ended question; respondents expressed their opinions freely. Analysis of those responses suggested that most of the respondents considered social networking sites as a platform for meeting especially old friends and family. According to one respondent, "Now, I know my family and friends are just a click away and I don't feel so out of touch either. Best of all, I get to see their and their children's pictures and videos."

Most of the respondents reflected that using social networking sites is fun and entertaining activity which helps in time pass. At the same time many of them felt that it is an addiction. Some of the respondents expressed that these kinds of sites gave a platform for branding oneself. Many of them felt that these social networking sites are good public relation media.

According to one respondent, "It is a medium of advertising and promoting one-self in order to gain 'popularity' which are measured by i) the number of friends that I have in the friends list ii) my profile settings and, iii) my photos and my themes. And to get that we keep on adding to people that we do not know, qualities that we do not possesses and groups that we do not belong to. And in doing that we learn how to mix up/socialize with people of different age and background."

One respondent opined that, "lot of interaction with people from different parts of world improves knowledge of human culture. Secondly, communities provide good platform for discussing topics extensively. Cricket updates are faster than cricinfo.com or cricbuzz.com. keeping in touch with all friends, their updates on home page provides easy way of getting updated. No NEED to go to friend's page and check for updates n all. Easy mode of Sharing pictures and friends commenting on pics without any difficulty is really awesome".

Some of them expressed that they were very selective in making friends. One expressed that, "I rather then wasting time on making useless friends, work on meeting great people who are achievers and influence my life and motivate me to do the same. I generally use social networking for having an insight to people who have made this world a better place to live by their innovation or ideas. For example I met CEO of mouthshut.com on linkedin.com and was shocked to know that he started this site at a very young age and it was an idea which he put to work so efficiently. He also does social activities in Mumbai currently helping the poor."

Most of them felt that it is also a discussion gateway in the form of community thread. It is evident that most of the respondents see social networking sites as a communication channel connecting their friends and families. However, some also felt this as an enhancing knowledge and as a mean to share ideas.

4.5 Findings and Summary

Thus, the analysis done with the help of statistical tools clearly indicate the reasons, advantages, disadvantages and usage pattern of using social networking sites by youth of the three nations. Results from mean comparison, ANOVA and factor analysis including open-ended question analysis reflects that youth from all three nations joins social networking sites to communicate with their friends/family and reconnect with old friends. Analysis shows that youth use social networking sites as a discussion platform to talk about their interest, sharing picture, music, videos and up-to-date themselves with the happenings in their respective communities.

It is also reflective to note that India and Nepal share commonalities across various variables, whereas Maldives displayed distinct results majority of the cases. Results communicated that youth from all three nations felt that using social networking sites is an addiction and this leads to them to spend more than 2hours daily.

Among the five selected social networking sites Orkut considered most popular site in India, while Facebook appeared as most popular in Nepal and Maldives.

The analysis with findings indicated the reasons of joining, expectations and disadvantages with regard to social networking sites. In this research researchers have focused on respondents from three nations respondents only. There is further scope to be this type of exploration to be carried out on other socio cultural contextsexplored.

Methodologically researchers' ability to make causal claims is limited by a lack of experimental or longitudinal studies and limited sample size. Researchers hope that the study carried out about exploring the inclination of youth towards social networking sites will help in building an understanding for future investigations of issues surrounding social network sites.

References

* Boyd, D. (2007) "Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life." MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Learning--Youth, Identity, and Digital Media Volume (ed. David Buckingham). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

* Comscore, Inc (2007). Major Social Networking Sites Substantially Expanded Their Global Visitor Base during Past Year, [Retrieved from www.comscore.com].

* Ellison, N., Steinfield, C., and Lampe, C. (2007). The Benefits of Facebook "Friends": Exploring the Relationship Between College Students' Use of Online Social Networks and Social Capital. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12 (3), article 1. [Retrieved from http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue4/ellison.html].

* Fielding, N. and Lee, R. M. (2008). Online Research Methods. Sage Publications, Thr Cromwell Press, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, Great Britain.

* Gangadharbatla, H., (2007). Facebook Me: Collective Self-Esteem, Need to Belong, and Internet Self-Efficacy as Predictors of the iGeneration's Attitudes toward Social Networking Sites. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 1-29.

* Hinduja, S. and Patchin, J.W. (2008). Personal Information of Adolescents on the Internet: A quantitative content analysis of MySpace. Journal of Adolescence, 31: 125-146.

* Livingstone, S., (2008). Taking Risky Opportunities in Youthful Content Creation: Teenagers' use of Social Networking sites for Intimacy, privacy and self-expression. New Media Society, 10: 393-411.

* Madhavan, N. (2007, July 6). India Gets More Net Cool. Hindustan Times. [Retrieved from http:// www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx? id=f2565bb8-663e-48c1-94ee-d99567577bdd]

* Nyland, R., Marvez, R., Beck, J., (2007). Paper Presented at the AEJMC Midwinter Conference, Feb 23-24, Reno, Nevada.

* Peluchette, J., and Karl, K., (2008). Social Networking Profiles: An Examination of Student Attitudes Regarding Use and Appropriateness of Content. Cyber Psychology and Behavior, 11 (1): 1-4.

* Raache, J., and Raache, B. J., (2008). MySpace and Facebook: Applying the Uses and Gratifications Theory to Exploring Friend-Networking Sites. Cyber Psychology and Behavior, 11 (2): 1-7.

* Raskin, R. (2006). Facebook Faces its Future. Young Consumers, Quarter 1.

* http://www.ofcom.org.uk

* http://www.enisa.europa.eu/doc/pdf/deliverables/ enisa_pp_social_networks.pdf

* http://www.getsafeonline.org/nqcontent.cfm?a_id=1469

* https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-facbook/ print/np.html

Dr. Divya Singhal Assistant Professor, Goa Institute of Management Goa.

Fathimath Shiraani Assistant Lecturer, Maldives College of Higher Education, Republic of Maldives.

Jyoti Regmi Adhikary Assistant Professor, Kathmandu University School of Management, Nepal.

The present paper provides an exploration of three nations comprising, India, Nepal and Maldives about inclination of youth towards social networking sites. The paper also examines the usage pattern and prevailing popular social networking sites in these nations. It also explored and identified the reasons behind users' interest to join and their expectations, features relevance and disadvantages from social networking sites.
Table-I
Worldwide growth of usage of some key
social networking sites

Worldwide Growth of Selected Social Networking Sites--Total
Worldwide Home/Work Locations Among Internet User;
Age 15+

Social Networking SiteTotal UniqueVisitors (000)

 Jun-06 Jun-07 % Growth

MySpace 66,401 114,147 72
Facebook 14,083 52,167 270
His 18,098 28,174 58
IOrkut 13,588 24,120 78
Friendster 14,917 24,675 65

Source: www.comScore.com, accessed on 22 July. 2008

Table-II
Population, Literary Rate and Age Structure in The Three Nations

Country India

Gender Male Female

Literacy rate 73.4 percent 47.8 percent
Population according to
age structure
 0-14 yrs 16.48 percent 15 percent
 14-65 yrs 32.59 percent 30.74 percent
 > 65 yrs 2.46 percent 2.72 percent

Total population 1,147,995,904

Country Nepal

Gender Male Female

Literacy rate 62.7 percent 43.9 percent
Population according to
age structure
 0-14 yrs 19.62 percent 18.39 percent
 14-65 yrs 29.92 percent 28.27 percent
 > 65 yrs 1.83 percent 1.96 percent

Total population 29,519,114

 Maldives

Country Male Female

Gender 96.2 percent 96.4 percent

Literacy rate
Population according to 11.96 percent 11.5 percent
age structure 44.64 percent 28.02 percent
 0-14 yrs 1.95 percent 1.92 percent
 14-65 yrs
 > 65 yrs 385,925

Total population

Source CIA,
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/
the-world/fact/book/print/np.html,
accessed on 28th September, 2008

Table-III
Sample profile according to Nationality Gender and Age

Country Gender Age Percentage

India Male 17-22 0
 23-27 20.22
 28-32 4.49
 Female 17-22 1.12
 23-27 7.87
 28-32 8.99

Nepal Male 17-22 3.37
 23-27 12.36
 28-32 1.12

 Female 17-22 5.62
 23-27 8.99
 28-32 1.12

Maldives Male 17-22 3.37
 23-27 6.74
 28-32 3.37

 Female 17-22 5.62
 23-27 12.36
 28-32 2.25

Table-IV
One- Way ANOVA Between Reasons to Join SNS Across Nations

Nation Reasons to join SNS Items F

Nepal Leisure/Time pass Between Groups 4.776
 Educational purpose Between Groups 8.641

India Entertain myself Between Groups 5.384
 Share videos/ pictures/ music Between Groups 4.507
 Make new friends Between Groups 11.399
 Business purpose Between Groups 6.261

Maldives Communicate with family Between Groups 5.159
 Communicate with friends Between Groups 4.062
 Leisure/Time pass Between Groups 9.711
 Entertain myself Between Groups 8.404
 Make new friends Between Groups 31.201
 Explore possibility of a Between Groups 6.429
 future relationship

Nation Reasons to join SNS Items Sig.

Nepal Leisure/Time pass Between Groups .032
 Educational purpose Between Groups .004

India Entertain myself Between Groups .023
 Share videos/ pictures/ music Between Groups .037
 Make new friends Between Groups .001
 Business purpose Between Groups .014

Maldives Communicate with family Between Groups .026
 Communicate with friends Between Groups .047
 Leisure/Time pass Between Groups .002
 Entertain myself Between Groups .005
 Make new friends Between Groups .000
 Explore possibility of a Between Groups .013
 future relationship

Table-V
One- way ANOVA far Disadvantage of Use of SNS Across Nations

Nation Disadvantage Item F

Nepal Time consuming Between Groups 23.618
 Ground for sexual predators Between Groups 4.649
India Lack of face-to-face interaction Between Groups 5.703
Maldives Time consuming Between Groups 12.275
 Lack of face-to-face interaction Between Groups 7.972

Nation Disadvantage Item Sig.

Nepal Time consuming Between Groups .000
 Ground for sexual predators Between Groups .034
India Lack of face-to-face interaction Between Groups .019
Maldives Time consuming Between Groups .001
 Lack of face-to-face interaction Between Groups .006

Table-VI
Communalities for Reasons

 Initial Extraction

Communicate with family 1.000 .582
Communicate with friends 1.000 .750
Reconnect with old friends 1.000 .699
Leisure/Timepass 1.000 .728
Convenient than Phone/Email 1.000 .570
Entertain myself 1.000 .790
Share videos/ pictures/ music 1.000 .635
Make new friends 1.000 .612
Keep up-to-date with social happenings/events 1.000 .579
Explore possibility of a future relationship 1.000 .646
Business purpose 1.000 .689
Educational purpose 1.000 .656
Bully others 1.000 .413

Table-VII
Total Variance Explained for Reasons

Component Initial Eigenvalues

 Total Percent of Cumulative
 Variance percent

1 3.231 26.922 26.922
2 2.105 17.540 44.462
3 1.646 13.716 58.178
4 1.018 8.486 66.664
5 0.890 7.418 74.082
6 0.657 5.476 79.557
7 0.603 5.025 84.582
8 0.534 4.451 89.033
9 0.415 3.462 92.494
10 0.373 3.107 95.602
11 0.283 2.361 97.963
12 0.244 2.037 100.000

Component Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings

 Total Percent of Cumulative
 Variance percent

1 3.231 26.922 26.922
2 2.105 17.540 44.462
3 1.646 13.716 58.178
4 1.018 8.486 66.664
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

Table-VIII
Rotated Component Matrix (a) for Reasons

 1 2

Communicate with family .053 .381
Communicate with friends .291 .055
Reconnect with old friends .175 .092
Leisure/Timepass .106 .154
Convenient than Phone/Email .180 .376
Entertain myself .245 .187
Share videos/ pictures/music .759 .230
Make new friends .728 .063
Keep up-to-date with social happenings/events .503 .538
Explore possibility of a future relationship .768 .023
Business purpose .132 .805
Educational purpose .064 .803
Bully others .112 .330

 Component

 3 4

Communicate with family .630 .191
Communicate with friends .814 .023
Reconnect with old friends .810 .060
Leisure/Timepass .286 .782
Convenient than Phone/Email .245 .580
Entertain myself .111 .826
Share videos/ pictures/music .070 .037
Make new friends .231 .157
Keep up-to-date with social happenings/events .091 .168
Explore possibility of a future relationship .039 .231
Business purpose .001 .153
Educational purpose .062 .052
Bully others .390 .374

Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.
Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalization.
A Rotation converged in 7 iterations.

Table-IX
Communalities for Ease of Use Initial Extraction

Ease to register 1.000 .823
Ease of access to friends and family 1.000 .645
Can edit privacy settings 1.000 .443
Find information 1.000 .726
Addl remove pictures 1.000 .715
Remove items/posts 1.000 .801
Change themes 1.000 .735
Create something of my own 1.000 .705

Table-X
Total Variance Explained for Ease of Use
Total Variance Explained

Component Initial Eigenvalues

 Total Per cent of Cumulative
 Variance Per cent

1 3.299 41.243 41.243
2 1.241 15.512 58.754
3 1.055 13.190 89.944
4 0.789 9.857 79.801
5 0.549 8.880 88.881
8 0.433 5.410 92.071
7 0.353 4.408 98.477
8 0.282 3.523 100.000

Component Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings

 Total Per cent of Cumulative
 Variance Per cent

1 3.299 41.243 41.243
2 1.241 15.512 58.754
3 1.055 13.190 89.944
4
5
8
7
8

Component Rotation Sums of Squared Loadings

 Total Per cent of Cumulative
 Variance Per cent

1 2.522 31.528 31.528
2 1.540 19.251 50.777
3 1.533 19.188 89.944
4
5
8
7
8

Table-XI
Rotated Component Matrix for Ease of Use

 Component

 personal access Creativity
 posting ease
 ease

Ease to register .077 .902 .054
Ease of access to .406 .653 .235
 friends and family
Can edit privacy settings .540 .353 .165
Find information .801 .273 .104
Addl remove pictures .803 .196 .181
Remove items/posts .859 .076 .238
Change themes .184 .049 .836
Create something of my own .053 .232 .805

Table-XII
Communalities for Disadvantages

 Initial Extraction

Time consuming 1.000 .616
Addiction 1.000 .677
Ground for sexual predators 1.000 .718
Cyberbullying 1.000 .820
Lack of face-to-face interaction 1.000 .252
Cyberstalking 1.000 .714

Table-XIII
Total Variance Explained for Disadvantages

Component Initial Eigenvalues

 Total percent of Cumulative
 Variance percent

1 2.569 42.824 42.824
2 1.229 20.480 63.304
3 .865 14.410 77.714
4 .636 10.603 88.317
5 .449 7.483 95.800
6 .252 4.200 100.000

Component Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings

 Total percent of Cumulative
 Variance percent

1 2.569 42.824 42.824
2 1.229 20.480 63.304
3
4
5
6

Component Rotation Sums of Squared Loadings

 Total percent of Cumulative
 Variance percent

1 2.285 38.085 38.085
2 1.513 25.218 63.304
3
4
5
6

Table-XIV
Component Matrix (a) for Disadvantages

Component Matrix(a) Component

 1 2

Time consuming .389 .682
Addiction .468 .677
Ground for sexual predators .831 .166
Cyberbullying .867 .261
Lack of face-to-face interaction .464 .191
Cyberstalking .735 .417

Figure-3
Social Networking Sites Use Hours Across Nations

 SNS use hours and Nations

 Less than 1-2 hr 2-3 hr 3-4 hr more than
 one hour 4 hrs

Nepal 17 8 2 2 0
India 20 6 2 0 1
Maldives 10 10 8 1 0

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure-4
Importance of Social Networking Sites

 Importance of online SNS

 Not Not Impo Very Extre
 impo muc rtant impo mely

Nepal 6.897 24.14 41.38 20.69 6.897
India 3.448 20.69 55.17 17.24 3.448
Maldives 9 26.67 43.33 23.33 6.667

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure-5
Number of SNS people use

1 7%
2 13%
3 20%
4 27%
5 33%

Figure-6
Use of Facebook in the Three Nations

 Facebook Use and Nations

 Nepal India Maldives

Never 7 19 2
Ocassionaly 8 8 5
Regulary 14 2 23

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure-7
Use of Myspace in the Three Nations

 Nepal India Maldives

Never 25 24 20
Ocassionaly 4 5 8
Regulary 1 0 2

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure-8
Use of Hi5 in the Tree Nations

 Hi5 use and Nations

 Nepal India Maldives

Never 7 23 18
Ocassionaly 14 5 6
Regulary 9 1 6

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure-9
Use of Orkut in the Three Nations

 Orkut use and Nations

 Nepal India Maldives

Never 21 0 29
Ocassionaly 4 4 1
Regulary 4 25 6

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure-10
Use of Friendster in the Three Nations

Friendster use and Nations

 Nepal India Maldives
Never 29 29 27
Ocassionaly 0 0 2
Regularly 0 0 1

Note: Table made from bar graph.
COPYRIGHT 2009 Foundation for Organisational Research & Education
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 Reader Opinion

Title:

Comment:



 

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Singhal, Divya; Shiraani, Fathimath; Adhikary, Jyoti Regmi
Publication:Abhigyan
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9NEPA
Date:Apr 1, 2009
Words:7615
Previous Article:The power of sun: an empirical study on the rural consumer buying behavior of solar products in Rajasthan.
Next Article:An exploratory study on perceived quality of working life among sales professionals employed in pharmaceutical, banking, finance and insurance...
Topics:


Related Articles
YouthLens: youth-adult partnerships show promise.
Their space or yours? Social networking sites bring risks and rewards to the camp community.
Networking sites more benign than thought.
Facebook provides youth a powerful voice.
Scholars discuss Arab youth in Cairo.
Britain's teens say they would commit cyber crimes for money.
Use of "Social Networks" Strengthen Impact of Pro-Life Youth.
Youth addictions centre provides unique programming.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2015 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters