Social Media Usage and Work Values: The Example of Facebook in Taiwan

Article excerpt

With the development of Web 2.0, the use of online social media has become an accepted part of our lives (Chapman, 2009). Social media usage has turned into a people's movement and is one of the fastest growing trends (Benevenuto, Rodrigues, Cha, & Almeida, 2009). Social media includes web-based platforms such as collaborative projects, blogs, content communities, social networking sites, virtual game worlds, and virtual communities (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Of these, the social networking website, Facebook, is the most popular (Prestipino, 2009).

According to its official news release in 2010 (www.facebook.com/press/info.php?timeline), Facebook's global membership increased from 350 million to 500 million in a period of 7 months. This figure represents more than 7% of the total world population, with a user base twice as large as the world's third most populous country. In June 2008, Facebook launched the Chinese Mandarin version of their website, but initially Facebook Taiwan was not very successful. However, the success of the Facebook game application "Happy Farm", has made Facebook Taiwan one of the most popular social media (Lee, 2009), thus threatening other popular Taiwanese social media sites such as Yahoo Taiwan's Wretch, pixnet.net (Su, 2010). A large number of people in Taiwan use Facebook for social communication and for playing "Happy Farm" during their work time (Lee, 2009). Because of this, numerous firms now do not allow their employees to use Facebook at work. There have been instances of workers losing their jobs for accessing Facebook during working hours ("No Facebook", 2009). In Taiwan, social norms at work and Facebook usage behavior have created a dichotomous situation wherein the worker is not supposed to access Facebook at work but has an overwhelming desire to do so.

Research Objectives

There is growing evidence of the effect of social media usage, especially Facebook, on attitude and behavior (www.xiongweixi.wikispaces.com/Happy+Farm). On this basis, we investigated the relationship between office workers' Facebook usage behavior and their work values and the relationship between the personal background of the users of online social media, especially Facebook, and their Facebook usage behavior.

Literature Review

Usage Behavior in Social Media

Usage behavior refers to the behavior generated by the use of goods or the consumption of services. In the current context, it signifies the use of social media, which has become an accepted part of our lives. Social media are tools for communication which are based on the concept of Web 2.0 and allow for the creation and exchange of user generated-content. Because of the intrinsic nature of humans, users are not likely to exhibit a single or simple behavior. Thus, the understanding of features of individual users' behavioral patterns in social media is of immense importance (Maia, Almeida, & Almeida, 2008).

The Social Networking Site: Facebook

Facebook was founded in 2004 as an exclusive online student directory limited to Harvard University students. Facebook later extended to all universities in the United States. In 2006, Facebook was made available for public use, and since then has witnessed exponential growth in membership worldwide. Facebook's fundamental features include: Graffiti wall (wall), Market (marketplace), Poke, Status (status updates), News Feed, and Notifications. These functions enable interaction between friends. In addition, numerous other application programs exist, among which gaming is the most popular and frequently used (InsightXplorer, 2009).

As noted, the introduction of "Happy Farm" has led to an exponential growth in the numbers of Facebook users in Taiwan. The popularity of "Happy Farm" has encouraged a large number of software firms to develop new games in an attempt to attract Facebook users to spend more time "stuck" to the online social network. …