DETERMINANTS OF PERCEIVED FLOW: INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

Social networking sites is a cyber environment that allows the individual to construct his/her profile, sharing text, images, and photos, and to link other members of the site by applications and groups provided on the Internet (Boyd & Ellison, 2008). The sites enable users to create a profile and connect their profile to others for the purpose of forming a personal network. They articulate or play with notions of identity and belonging. Users now can access to their favorite social networking sites via mobile phones due to the successful convergence of Internet and mobile phones in the past decade. Zhong, Hardin and Sun (2011) stated that the advent of social network sites is rapidly changing human interaction, that millions of people worldwide are living much of their lives on social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn. Mobile-device-based social networking services (SNS) have become popular technology mediated communication modalities. Counts and Fisher (2010) stated that the advantages and promises of these services stem from the integration of the social connections brought about by social networking services and the communication channel and portability of the mobile device.

According to Social Computing Magazine (2011), in March 2011, a Japan mobile service provider known as Softbank Mobile issued a press release announcing that the carrier’s official Yahoo! mobile portal has added a mobile social networking category to the top level menu. The four sites included are MySpace Mobile, Mixi Mobile, GREE and Avex. Excite Japan, an Internet information portal site and one of the “dotcom” portals similar to Yahoo!, Lycos and Netscape, announced the UK release of its ad-funded mobile social networking sites, Mobikade. The huge success of ad-funded mobile SNS in Japan itself shows the significant growth of mobile SNS.

The number of Facebook users continues increasing globally and is quickly becoming one of the most popular tools for social communication and entertainment. Facebook has more than 500 million worldwide active users (Facebook, 2010). Users spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook. More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) are shared each month. There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages). Facebook introduced features such as wall, pokes, status, photos, news feed, tag, market place, instant messaging and video. This study is helpful to mobile SNS providers as it discusses the effect of flow experience on users’ loyalty towards their platform. If the mobile SNS provider wishes to retain and increase their customers, special attention will need to be paid towards the information and system quality provided. Apart from that, the variety of SNS management team such as Facebook and Twitter will benefit from this study as well because they are capable of altering and providing the perceived enjoyment to their users. Hence, this research aims to examine the determinants of perceived enjoyment, control and attention focus as aspects of the software interaction concept of flow, system quality, information quality and trust on mobile SNS users’ loyalty.

This paper is structured as follows: Section 2 presents the model employed in this study, focusing on the rationale of the constructs used and deriving testable hypotheses. Section 3 describes the research methodology. The next section presents the results and discussions sections. The paper rounds off with conclusions and an agenda for future research in this area.