Academic journal article Competition Forum

Consumer-to-Consumer Effect of Facebook Friends

Academic journal article Competition Forum

Consumer-to-Consumer Effect of Facebook Friends

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Social Comparison

This paper is based on a belief that the Facebook is a new platform for bringing people closer to each other, and thus increasing the chances for more social comparison. With more propinquity, distances among people decrease and odds for interaction increase (Kotler & Keller, 2009). Since social comparison appears to be a basic human predisposition (Gulas & McKeage, 2000), it is assumed that the consumption decisions of people, among other decisions, will be more affected by their contacts 'friends on Facebook' choices. Nassim Taleb (2004) has stressed the fact that 'becoming more rational, or not feeling emotions of social slights, is not part of the human race, at least not with our current biology" (p. 143). Social comparison applies basically to choices that do not have clear objective answer, as stylistic decisions (Insko et al., 1983). To render the evaluation of self more solid in the absence of physical evidence, social comparison tends to increase (Festinger, 1954). The choices of people become more positively or negatively dependent on the choices of others in their circle of contacts. They will either strive for more conformity or uniqueness via personal creativity. They will be also motivated to engage in attempts to boost their self-portrays and sexual attractiveness in the eyes of others. All of these attempts will heighten the peer pressure, thus influencing the decisions people make, especially those related to their purchasing and consumption behaviors. However, people are generally selective about whom they will imitate (Tesser et al., 1988). Guessing who will be affected by whom is tricky, as opinion leaders tend to be simultaneously opinion seekers (Yale & Gilly, 1995).

The high-context collectivist culture prevailing in Lebanon, the location of the study, coupled with the high unemployment rate, will do nothing but spill oil on the fire when it comes to Facebook usage, thus intensifying the indirect influences of Facebook on the decisions and behaviors of people in the region. However, the university students targeted in this study are believed to share many of the same habits and lifestyles of the youth in the same age brackets in different regions of the world, and thus an emphasis on cultural issues is not highly needed when it comes to social networking.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Social Networking via Facebook

Social networking sites are online websites that permit individuals to get in contact with friends or make new friends by creating personal profiles accessible by users of those sites (Orr et al., 2009). Facebook, twitter, Myspace, LavaLife, and Plenty of Fish are some examples of these social networking sites. Millions of individuals around the world have integrated social networking sites into their daily routines (Boyd & Ellison, 2007).Scholars from different walks of the academy shave shown increasing interest in SNSs in attempts to understand their uses and implications on the identities, social well-being and even political activation of their users (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). Researchers are particularly interested in Facebook because of its high-tech nature and high usage rates (Ellison et al., 2007). However, despite the popularity of Facebook, the scholarly work on Facebook's impact on identity and behavior remains modest (Raacke & Bonds -Racke, 2008).

"Founded in February 2004, Facebook is a social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their frien ds, family and coworkers" (Facebook factsheet). It saw the light on the hands of Mark Zuckerberg of Harvard University. This student's brilliant innovation was first created for communication purposes by the university's populace, but then it extende d to other universities and ultimately to the whole world after officially becoming Facebook.com in 2005 (Philips, 2007). It is named after the paper Facebook's used to identify members of campus communities in colleges. …

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