Affiliation or Power: What Motivates Behavior on Social Networking Sites?

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Abstract

The present study investigated the relationship between explicit and implicit measures of affiliation, power, and achievement motives and behavior as related to social networking sites (SNS) in a sample of 59 participants. SNS appear to be designed to enable social connection via the Internet, so the potential for influence of the affiliation motive seemed self-evident. Additionally, we hypothesized that the power motive drives certain aspects of SNS behavior such that individuals with a high power motive have a larger number of friends and upload more pictures. The results of regression analyses showed that the explicit affiliation motive and the explicit power motive were related to different outcomes of SNS activity. Specifically, the explicit power motive predicted number of friends and number of uploaded pictures, whereas time spent on SNS per day was predicted by the explicit affiliation motive. Only weak evidence was found for an influence of implicit motives on SNS activity.

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