Exploring the relationship between social network sites and the consumption of cultural goods through the lens of affordances
University College Cork
This thesis presents research theorising the use of social network sites (SNS) for the consumption of cultural goods. SNS are Internet-based applications that enable people to connect, interact, discover, and share user-generated content. They have transformed communication practices and are facilitating users to present their identity online through the disclosure of information on a profile. SNS are especially effective for propagating content far and wide within a network of connections. Cultural goods constitute hedonic experiential goods with cultural, artistic, and entertainment value, such as music, books, films, and fashion. Their consumption is culturally dependant and they have unique characteristics that distinguish them from utilitarian products. The way in which users express their identity on SNS is through the sharing of cultural interests and tastes. This makes cultural good consumption vulnerable to the exchange of content and ideas that occurs across an expansive network of connections within these social systems. This study proposes the lens of affordances to theorise the use of social network sites for the consumption of cultural goods. Qualitative case study research using two phases of data collection is proposed in the application of affordances to the research topic. The interaction between task, technology, and user characteristics is investigated by examining each characteristic in detail, before investigating the actual interaction between the user and the artifact for a particular purpose. The study contributes to knowledge by (i) improving our understanding of the affordances of social network sites for the consumption of cultural goods, (ii) demonstrating the role of task, technology and user characteristics in mediating user behaviour for user-artifact interactions, (iii) explaining the technical features and user activities important to the process of consuming cultural goods using social network sites, and (iv) theorising the consumption of cultural goods using SNS by presenting a theoretical research model which identifies empirical indicators of model constructs and maps out affordance dependencies and hierarchies. The study also provides a systematic research process for applying the concept of affordances to the study of system use.
Social media , Social network sites , Cultural goods , Affordances , Music consumption , Consumer behaviour
O'Riordan, S. 2014. Exploring the relationship between social network sites and the consumption of cultural goods through the lens of affordances. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.