Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Technology Acceptance in Social Media: Review, Synthesis and Directions for Future Empirical Research

Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Technology Acceptance in Social Media: Review, Synthesis and Directions for Future Empirical Research

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

In light of social media's significance for individuals and society, in recent years there has been increasingly widespread discussion of the topic in academia [Khang et al. 2012]. Numerous social media-related research interests exist in various scientific disciplines. These range from politics (e.g., [Park 2013]) to public administration (e.g., [Lampe et al. 2011]), communication sciences and journalism (e.g., [McCauliff 2011]), psychology (e.g., [Leung 2013]), law (e.g., [Sánchez Abril et al. 2012]), education (e.g., [Pritchett et al. 2013]), cultural studies (e.g., [Lim & Palacios-Marques 2011]) and not least economics, business administration (cf., [Khang et al. 2012]) and electronic commerce (e.g., [Wirtz et al. 2013]).

In particular, the latter three are not surprising since social media heavily influence both the broader economy and the increasingly digitalized business world. The actors involved, in turn, can use social media for their own purposes, thus implying the practical relevance for all sorts of organizations and companies [Kaplan & Haenlein 2010]. Given this situation, it is not only important for social media providers to know what exactly drives user acceptance of the technology underlying social media, why specific platforms like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube are so successful [Papagiannidis & Bourlakis 2013] but also to know what might determine user acceptance of future social media applications.

In this connection, researchers have earlier made well-grounded scientific statements about the increasing diversity, the accordingly growing research potential and a particularly important interest in exploring user acceptance or adoption of social media (e.g., [Shin & Kim 2008; Sledgianowski & Kulviwat 2009]). The importance of this research interest must be emphasized in view of the vast development in the field, with new platforms constantly emerging, e.g. Flickr in 2004, Tumblr in 2007, 9GAG in 2008, Instagram and Pinterest in 2010, Google+ in 2011, Pheed in 2012 and Ello in 2014. Since at times also quite vague business models accompany the latter applications, further questions about the related user acceptance are likely to arise in the future.

Therefore, this meta-study seeks to identify existing studies that observe what exactly leads to user acceptance of the technology underlying social media. Since the TAM [Davis 1986] is one of the most prominent models in information technology acceptance research [Venkatesh et al. 2003] and, according to our inquiries, so far also the prevailing theoretical approach regarding users' adoption of social media, this review focuses on studies that are based on the TAM. While especially in the realm of information systems and technology, the body of literature related to social media continues to grow (e.g., [Barelka et al. 2013; El-Haddadeh et al. 2012; Lane & Coleman 2012; Shin 2013]), surprisingly there is a lack of comprehensive literature reviews.

In the field of business administration, Khang et al. [2012], for instance, review "... social media research in advertising, communication, marketing and public relations" [p. 279] according to the respective publications' topic, theory and method as well as their "frequency, proportion, and occurrence patterns" [p. 282] in different journals. While this categorization approach is sufficient to gain a more general overview of social media business research, extensive literature reviews of empirical, multivariate studies would be desirable, which present hitherto existing and contradictory research about specific subject areas in social media in a cohesive manner.

In this regard, there are indeed several meta-studies about the TAM from more general viewpoints (e.g., [Chuttur 2009; King & He 2006; Legris & Ingham 2003; Schepers and Wetzels 2007; Turner et al. 2010; Venkatesh et al. 2003; Wu & Lederer 2009]). Yet we find hardly any reviews particularly focusing on the TAM and social media. …

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