NICHE ONLINE NETWORKSIS NOW THE TIME WHEN LESS IS MORE? Carlos Osorio Newcastle University Business School The Co-productions of Knowledge . 2012
MOTIVATIONS Increment of new users and new Social Network Sites (SNS) Investment on SNS related start-ups (Arthur,2012) i.e. Facebook bought Instragram for $1.000.000 Who is next? Pinterest, Spotify, Path? Trend related with personalization/customization features of SNS: i.e. Close friends in FB, circles in Google + or promoted post and twits. Uncertainty about success likelihood of SNS initiatives Previous research consider all SNS in a single category to find patterns, but ignoring the differences can be dangerous (Wilson et al. 2012). Are we in a SNS bubble similar to the “.com” in the early 2000‟s?
WEB 2.0 Web 2.0 as a platform. (OReilly, 2005) Creation of communities based on users continued interaction “Is about „transforming monologue (one-to-many) into dialog (many-to-many)‟ ” (Hansen et al., 2010, P. 12)Online vs Offline communities Attributes Aspatial Purpose Asynchronous Place: chat, SNS, virtual world, etc Acorporal Platform: Synchronous, non- Bandwidth synchronous Astigmatic Population: (1) small group, (2) Anonymous network (3) publics (Smith, 1992) Profit model (Porter, 2004):
SOCIAL NETWORK SITES (SNS) Social Network is a set of nodes (can be people, organizations, enterprises) connected through a series of ties, generating patterns (Wellman, 2003). Focus on structural issues Social Network Analysis (SNA), Divorce between sociological meaning and computer science Boyd and Ellison (2008) defines a Social Network Site as meaning (Quan,2009) “Web-based services that allow individuals to Construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system Articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection View and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system”.
NICHE SNS Contrast between general purpose and niche SNS (Boyd and Ellison, 2008; Goldbeck,2007; Quan,2009; Hansen et al. 2010), Research consider all SNS in a single category to find patterns, but ignoring the differences can be dangerous (Wilson et al. 2012) Niche SNS looks to narrow audiences through the focus on Characteristics of the population: aSmallworld or Beautiful people Activities: Coachsurfing and wayn Identity: Blackplanet and Cafemom Affiliations: Mychurch Dependency: Standalone or secondary feature in a website (Goldbeck,2007; Quan,2009)
RESEARCH IN SNS Structural approach dominance Try to explain and predict the interaction between network members, based on patterns found in the ties (Oinas-Kukkonen et al., 2010). i.e. Homophily and Triadic closure Focus: General-purpose SNS: large data available public character of the information* Comparison of the network characteristics(structural and operational approach) Take all networks as if they were from same category regardless the size and /or purpose
RESEARCH AIMS Understand why a user would prefer to join an independent Niche SNS over a general purpose group. What are the main factors that drive a user to join an independent niche SNS? Independent vs Dependent
USES AND GRATIFICATIONS THEORY Highly used to understand users‟ choices (Lee, et al 2009 ) Assumptions: a) Communication behaviour is goal-directed, purposive, and motivated, b) people select media, c) many factors guide our media selection, d) media compete with other channels for messages e) people are typically more influential than media
GRATIFICATIONS Socialising Information seekingNetworking Social support Information sharing and seeking Privacy and Innovativenes Identity Learning security s Social Network Sites Uses and Gratifications Entertainment ConveniencePleasurable way to spend time Covenience Market Boredom relief Channel use profile Figure 1 SNS Uses and Gratifications
NICHE THEORY Interest in explaining “how organisms that consume similar resources and perform similar functions in an environment compete and coexist” (Feaster, 2009, P.967). Dimmick (1993) propose an adaptation of the biological formulas, following the Hutchinson approach of n-dimensions, in which the factors identified trough factor analysis become the resources that the species will be competing for.
MEASURES Niche breadth measures the degree of specialization of a niche regarding the dimension or gratifications that fulfil. A general medium can fulfil a wide range of dimensions, whereas a specialist will fulfil a narrow spectrum (Dimmick et al., 2000; Nyland, 2007). Niche overlap measures the similarity in the resources used. Hence, a big overlap means that the populations are competing for the same resources. Niche superiority as its name indicates, will measure which media is superior to the other regarding the dimensions considered by media.