Original Research

Social networking experiences on Facebook: A survey of gender differences amongst students

Melanie Wiese, Juanne Lauer, George Pantazis, Jade Samuels
Acta Commercii | Vol 14, No 1 | a218 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v14i1.218 | © 2014 Melanie Wiese, Juanne Lauer, George Pantazis, Jade Samuels | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 August 2013 | Published: 12 November 2014

About the author(s)

Melanie Wiese, Department of Marketing Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Juanne Lauer, Department of Marketing Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
George Pantazis, Department of Marketing Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Jade Samuels, Department of Marketing Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Students’ membership and participation in social networking sites, such as Facebook, has increased in recent years.

Research purpose: The study examined students’ access to social network sites and compared male and female students’ usage of Facebook with regards to time commitment, privacy concerns, and the creation and/or maintenance of relationships.

Motivation: The study adds to the existing academic literature on this topic by providing a South African perspective.

Research design, approach and method: Two-hundred self-administered questionnaires were distributed using convenience sampling. The statistical analysis that was used included Mann-Whitney U-test, t-test and ANOVA analysis.

Main findings: Students connect to social networking sites everyday primarily via their mobile phones. Female students reported spending more time on Facebook whilst at the same time expressing more concern for their privacy. Moreover, students were found to use Facebook to maintain existing offline friendships more so than creating new relationships.

Managerial implications: Social networking sites such as Facebook play an important role in students’ everyday interpersonal communication. Practically, Facebook provides lecturers, parents and businesses the opportunity to communicate with students in a fast and cost-effective way. Therefore, insight into the variables studied could help marketers and Social Network Site operators to manage privacy concerns in order to effectively target, advertise and communicate with students.

Contribution: Although past research has concentrated on the study of Facebook in terms of privacy and members’ uses little research has been conducted on gender differences in this regard, more so within a South African context. Furthermore demographic variables such as gender influence motives and behaviour, as such making the analysis demographics essential.


Keywords

social network sites; Facebook; gender differences; time commitment; privacy concerns; relationships

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