Voyeurism and exhibitionism drive Facebook use

Our study titled ‘The Janus Face of Facebook: Positive and negative Sides of Social Networking Site Use’ contributes to understanding of the dark side of social networking site (SNS) use by discussing the role voyeurism and exhibitionism as predictors of Facebook use.

We draw on the uses and gratifications theory and place social enhancement and interpersonal connectivity as the socio-psychologically positive gratifications and exhibitionism and voyeurism as the adverse gratifications predicting SNS use. In our study, exhibitionism refers to an overly grandiose, narcissistic form of self-presentation through Facebook and voyeurism the tendency to derive pleasure from accessing other people’s information through Facebook. We further link these gratifications to two key psychological needs, namely self-presentation and the need to belong.

The results show that exhibitionism, voyeurism and interpersonal connectivity predict SNS use. Furthermore, the number of friends in the SNS decreases the effect of exhibitionism and increases the effect of social enhancement. Altogether, the role of exhibitionism and voyeurism in predicting SNS use underscores the need for increased awareness of the socio-psychologically dark side of SNSs.

The full paper can be found from here.

Bibliographic information

Mäntymäki, Matti & Islam, A.K.M. Najmul (2016) “The Janus Face of Facebook: Positive and negative Sides of Social Networking Site Use”. Computers in Human Behavior, In press.

DOI 10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.078

Only a small subset of all apps generates the majority of downloads in application marketplaces

Having a large number of applications in the marketplace is often considered  a critical success factor for mobile ecosystems such as iOS and Android as well as for software ecosystems in general.

Our study titled ‘The influence of developer multi-homing on competition between software ecosystems’ challenges this notion. By analyzing 1.3 million applications in the three leading mobile application ecosystem, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone Store we show that a small subset of all applications generates the vast majority of downloads and that 3 per cent of all application developers account for 80 per cent of all downloads. We further show that from this subset that we call ‘keystone developers’ actively multi-home, i.e. publish their applications in more than one ecosystem.

The results thus imply that attracting and maintaining developers of superstar applications is more critical for the survival of a mobile application ecosystem than the overall number of developers and applications. We further predict that no mobile application ecosystem is going to obtain a monopoly in the market. From a theoretical standpoint, our study advances the understanding of the influence of multi-homing on competition between software ecosystems.

The full paper can be found from here and is available open access.

Bibliograhic information

Hyrynsalmi, Sami, Suominen, Arho & Mäntymäki, Matti (2016), “The Influence of Developer Multi-Homing on Competition between Software Ecosystems,” Journal of Systems and Software Vol. 111, January, pp. 119-127.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2015.08.053

Social features of Spotify do not contribute to sustained usage

 In our study “Gratifications from using freemium music streaming services: Differences between basic and premium users” we identify four gratifications, namely enjoyment, ubiquity, discovery of new music and social connectivity pertinent to online music streaming services such as Spotify.

While online streaming has become one of the dominant ways to consume music, users’ motives have not thus far been exhaustively investigated. Since Spotify employs the freemium model, i.e. offers a free and a paid version of the service, we also examined to what extent these gratifications differ between the paying and non-paying users.

With a data collected from 374 Spotify users we also observe that premium users experience higher levels of enjoyment, ubiquity, discovery of new music, and continuance intention than the non-paying users.

The results also show that enjoyment, ubiquitous experience and discovering new music drive sustained usage intention in online music streaming.

Our results indicate that the social connectivity does not contribute to the continuance intention. This observation is interesting as online music service providers are investing in social features to make the music experience more social.

Our results also imply that Spotify has been able to create a premium offering that creates value-added for the users. The study contributes to the nascent research on the drivers of online music streaming and the literature on freemium model in digital content services.

The full paper can be found from my ResearchGate profile.

Bibliometric information

Mäntymäki, Matti & Islam, A.K.M. Najmul (2015) “Gratifications from using freemium music streaming services: Differences between basic and premium users” In proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS2105), Fort Worth, TX, December 13-15.

Why do small and medium-sized freemium game developers use game analytics?

The increased use of the freemium business model and the introduction of new tools have made analytics pervasive in the video game industry. The research on game analytics is scant and descriptive. Thus, reasons for employing game analytics are not well understood. In this study, we analyze data collected with a set of in-depth interviews from small and medium-sized freemium game developers. The results show that game analytics is used to 1) assist design, 2) to reduce the risks associated with launching new games, and 3) to communicate with investors and publishers. Our analysis reveals an interesting tensions between game development as a create process and the importance of performance measurement. The study advances the research on the business value of game analytics.

The full paper can be found from my ResearchGate profile

Bibliographic information

Koskenvoima, Antti & Mäntymäki, Matti (2015) “Why do small and medium-size freemium game developers use game analytics?” In proceedings of the 14th IFIP Conference on e-Business, e-Services and e-Society (I3E2015), Delft, The Netherlands, 13-15 October (Conference Best Paper Award)

Young people under represented user group in information systems research

Our study “Digital natives in social virtual worlds: A multi-method study of gratifications and social influences in Habbo Hotel” advances the understanding of digital natives as virtual world users. The study can be summarized with four points:

  1. Digital natives are under investigated in the virtual world and Information Systems research.
  2. Teenagers’ continuous social virtual world use is predominantly hedonically motivated.
  3. Virtual world both extends existing social interactions and helps to form new ones.
  4. Digital natives naturally cross the boundary between offline life and virtual space.

Millions of teenagers today engage in social virtual worlds (SVWs). However, teenagers, often referred to as digital natives, represent an under-investigated group in the virtual world research and the Information Systems literature.

We draw on developmental psychology and the uses and gratifications approach to examine teenagers’ continuous SVW use with a multi-method approach. We first investigate role of psychological gratifications and social influences in predicting teenagers’ intention to continue using Habbo Hotel. Thereafter, to gain a deeper understanding of their in-world activities, we triangulate our findings with a structured content analysis of the respondents’ open-ended comments.

Our quantitative and qualitative findings show that the intentions to continue SVW use are predominantly hedonically motivated. Moreover, we demonstrate that inside the platform users engage in social activities that are often associated with the hedonic experience. Finally, we discuss how these activities both extend and are distinct from digital natives’ offline and online social interactions.

The full paper can be found from here and is available open access.

Bibliographic information

Mäntymäki, Matti & Riemer, Kai (2014) “Digital natives in social virtual worlds: A multi-method study of gratifications and social influences in Habbo Hotel”, International Journal of Information Management, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 210-220.

Digging deeper into perceived network externalities in virtual world use

Our study “Social virtual world continuance among teens: uncovering the moderating role of perceived aggregate network exposure” focuses on the role of network externalities in affecting the continued user engagement in virtual worlds.

In many of my studies on virtual worlds I have investigated the role of perceived network pressure in directly predicting the continuous use (e.g. Mäntymäki & Riemer, 2014) as well as purchase intentions (Mäntymäki & Salo, 2013).

In this study, we introduce the concept of perceived aggregate network exposure (PANE). We extend the information systems (IS) continuance model with perceived enjoyment and position PANE as a moderator. We test the model with data collected from 2134 Finnish Habbo Hotel users and employ structural equation modelling in the analysis. The results demonstrate that PANE moderates the influence of motivational factors on continued use intention. More specifically, among users who experience high levels of PANE, perceived usefulness plays a stronger role but perceived enjoyment a weaker role in predicting continuance intention compared to users experiencing low levels of PANE.

Our study make a contribution to both research and practice since engagement in online social platforms such as virtual worlds has become pervasive, particularly among the young. At the same time, the number of virtual environments has increased rapidly. Due to intensifying competition, promoting sustained usage, i.e. continuance, has become a top priority for virtual world operators. Prior research has shown that network externalities play a key role in the adoption of communication technologies. However, a small amount of research has examined the role of network externalities in continued IT usage in general or with respect to the virtual world participation in particular.

The full paper can be downloaded from my ResearchGate profile.

Bibliographic information

Mäntymäki, Matti & Islam, A.K.M. Najmul (2014) “Social virtual world continuance among teens: uncovering the moderating role of perceived aggregate network exposure”, Behaviour & Information Technology , Vol. 33, No. 5, pp. 536 – 547.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0144929X.2013.872190

Can Second Life be used to promote health?

The aim of our study titled “Promoting Health in Virtual Worlds: Lessons from Second Life” was to find out whether Second Life is a working and functional platform supporting the empowerment of people in health-related issues.

We conducted a review of the current health-related activity in Second Life, coupled with an extensive series of observations and interactions with the respective resources inside Second Life.

We identified a total of 24 active health resources were found in Second Life, indicating that health-related activity is rather limited in Second Life, though at first glance it appears to contain very rich health-related content. The other main shortcomings of Second Life relate to a lack of activity, a low number of users, problems with Second Life’s search features, and the difficulty of finding trustworthy information.

The paper can be found from here

Bibliographic information
Suomi, Reima, Mäntymäki, Matti & Söderlund, Sari (2014). Promoting Health in Virtual Worlds: Lessons from Second Life. Journal of Medical Internet Research, Vol. 16, no. 10.

In-world purchasing behavior boosts the user experience in virtual worlds

Our study titled “Purchasing behavior in social virtual worlds: An examination of Habbo Hotel” examines to what extent the characteristics of the user experience that motivate usage behavior can also be used to predict purchasing virtual products and services in a virtual world environment.

Spending real money on virtual goods and services has become a popular form of online consumer behavior, particularly among teenagers. Our study builds on the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) to examine the role of motivation, social influence, measured with perceived network size as well as user interface and facilitating conditions in predicting the intention to engage in purchasing in social virtual worlds. The research model is tested with data from 1045 users of Habbo Hotel, at the time of the study the most popular virtual world for teenagers. The results underscore the role of perceived network size and motivational factors in explaining in-world purchase decisions.

In a nutshell, the study empirically shows that virtual purchasing behavior is substantially influenced by the factors driving usage behavior. Hence, we suggest that virtual purchasing can be understood as a means to enhance the user experience. For virtual world operators, reinforcing the sense of presence of user’s social network may be a viable approach to promote virtual purchasing.

The full paper can be found from the publisher’s site as well as my ResearchGate profile

Bibliographic information

Mäntymäki, Matti & Salo, Jari (2013) “Purchasing behavior in social virtual worlds: An examination of Habbo Hotel”, International Journal of Information Management, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 282-290.

Hedonic motives drive teenagers’ continuous use of social virtual worlds

Social virtual worlds (SVWs) have become important environments for social interaction. At the same time, the supply and demand of virtual goods and services is rapidly increasing. For SVWs to be economically sustainable, retaining existing users and turning them into consumers are paramount challenges. This requires an understanding of the underlying reasons why users continuously engage in SVWs and purchase virtual items. This study builds upon Technology Acceptance Model, motivational model and theory of network externalities to examine continuous usage and purchase intention and it empirically tests the model with data collected from 2481 Habbo users. The results reveal a strong relationship between continuous usage and purchasing. Further, the results demonstrate the importance of the presence of other users in predicting the purchase behavior in the SVW. Continuous SVW usage in turn is predicted directly by perceived enjoyment and usefulness while the effect of attitude is marginal. Finally, perceived network externalities exert a significant influence of perceived enjoyment and usefulness of the SVW but do not have a direct effect on the continuous usage.

The full paper can be found from my ResearchGate profile

Bibliographic information

Mäntymäki, Matti & Salo, Jari (2011) Teenagers in social virtual worlds: Continuous use and purchasing behavior in Habbo Hotel. Computers in Human Behavior, Vol. 27, No. 6, pp. 2088-2097.