Why Do We Continue Using Social Networking Sites? The Giving Loop that feeds Computer-Mediated Social Ties

Alya Mlaïki, Isabelle Walsh, Michel Kalika



This article investigates usage continuance of social networking sites (SNSs). We propose an approach based on an SNS giving loop through the theoretical framework of gift theory (Mauss, 1954). We use mixed data and techniques with a classic grounded-theory (GT) approach. Using both qualitative and quantitative data, we define and model the components of the SNS gift-triptych that are significant in explaining the durability of com- puter-mediated social ties (CMSTs). We highlight the relationship between the dynamics of reciprocal giving and usage continuance/discontinuance of Facebook. We show that a giv- ing loop defined through the give-receive-return triptych explains Facebook usage contin- uance: the more complete the giving loop is, the more individuals are inclined to continue using the social networking site. Those users who enter into reciprocal-giving dynamics and develop strong CMSTs are those who will use more frequently and more lastingly the social networking site. 


Computer-mediated social ties, Facebook, Giving loop, Social networking sites, Usage continuance, Mauss.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.9876/sim.v22i2.715