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Author Palvia, Prashant ♦ Vannoy, Sandra A.
Source ACM Digital Library
Content type Text
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
File Format PDF
Language English
Abstract Introduction Human innovation, in combination with the internet, networking, and communications technologies have produced a new platform for social and business networking, formation of community, and communication. This emerging phenomenon is generally known as social computing. While there is no widely accepted definition of social computing, we define it as: intra-group social and business actions practiced through group consensus, group cooperation, and group authority, where such actions are made possible through the mediation of information technologies, and where group interaction causes members to conform and influences others to join the group. In this article, we examine the adoption of information technologies in the context of social computing. Most current information systems research on individual technology adoption has focused upon the adoption of technology in organizations and has utilized such technology acceptance models as the TRA and TAM. It has been suggested, however, that a new perspective on adoption may be necessary to fully capture the nature of technology acceptance in social computing situations, where the technology is embraced rather than simply accepted by the user, and where the action made possible by technology is seen as a behavior embedded in society. Few studies have investigated technology adoption targeting the individual at the level of society, community, or lifestyle experience. There is little research that approaches adoption in the context of social computing, and to our knowledge, no models have been developed to investigate this phenomenon. This study addresses this gap by developing social constructs and providing a theoretically grounded model for technology adoption in the context of social computing. We develop a cross-disciplinary model of technology adoption to address the multi-faceted context of social computing. Our model suggests that social computing action, social computing consensus, social computing cooperation, and social computing authority are antecedents to social influence, and augment usefulness and ease of use. In social influence, group membership legitimizes actions and the individual is guided by the group's rules of practice. Social influence leads to technology adoption. Technology adoption incorporates two essential elements, the embracement of the technology by individuals and its embedment in society. Each of the model's constructs will be explained in further detail. As Figure 1 demonstrates, while technology may influence society, society often exerts influence on technology. Consider SMS text messaging. A technology that was originally intended to deliver subscriber information was adopted by end users as a vehicle for social behavior. Peer-to-peer (P2P) file swapping offers another example. A technology that was intended to provide an efficient mechanism for remote file access was adopted by end users to create music sharing networks. The strength of social influence is evident, as text messaging has now outpaced voice mobile calling as well as email. Similarly, sales of traditional music media such as CDs are declining as the number of music downloads and uploads via P2P networks continue to increase. As the Internet, networking, and communications technologies become increasingly embraced by individuals and embedded in everyday lives and activities, technologically enabled social structures are emerging that are changing the way individuals interact and communicate, and are facilitating fundamental changes to business practices. People socialize and network via their Web browsers by joining social networking sites such as MySpace.com and LinkedIn.com. Text messaging has created a form of communication that has its own user-defined language and protocols. A recent study by Cision on the influence of Web blogs on mainstream media showed that the mention of blogs in top magazines and newspapers has increased from just over 2,000 in 2005 to over 13,000 in 2008. In a 2006 study, Forrester Research found that although social computing is in infancy, societal changes are being witnessed, as individuals increasingly take cues from one another, in addition to traditional sources of authority, such as corporations, media, political institutions or religions. Social computing mechanisms such as blogs, e-Bay-esque Web sites, Web-based forums such as MySpace.com, text messaging, and instant messaging are often utilized instead of traditional sources of news, purchasing, and social interaction. Unauthorized P2P file sharing provides an example of how technology is used in the formation and organization of groups with shared interests. Through cooperation with a particular action, communities based upon the shared interest of music exchange are created by the consensus of the group that it is acceptable to use the Internet and communication technologies to share music among group members. Though the action is illegal in the traditional sense, the decentralized nature of P2P makes regulation difficult and largely immunizes its activities against established forms of authority. Furthermore, unauthorized file sharing has become socially acceptable (embedded) due to the new authority imposed by the group. The embracement and embedment of P2P file sharing is evident as the number of P2P networks continues to grow. Individuals have historically exchanged music via low quality mechanisms such as magnetic tape; however, the development of file formats such as .mp3 that could carry music of high quality and the adoption of P2P transferred some portion of the power wielded by the entertainment industry to the consumer. P2P file exchange has provided a means for obtaining music outside of mechanisms sanctioned by the entertainment industry, such as purchasing CDs or obtaining .mp3 files from legitimate sources. As social computing becomes prevalent, creating new ways to examine human behavior in the context of information technology becomes important. Parameswaran and Whinston9 suggest that social computing has brought about a much more complex model of computing that may not fit within the confines of current knowledge. Current research on IT adoption focuses largely upon the concepts of usefulness and ease of use, which may not fully explain technology adoption in the context of social computing. Due to the social influence inherent in social computing and the embedment and embracement of technology in the lives of individuals and the interactions of society, it has become important to examine technology adoption from a cross-disciplinary and multifaceted context, and in terms of social and business interactions.
Description Affiliation: University of North Carolina at Greensboro (Palvia, Prashant) || Appalachian State University, Boone, NC (Vannoy, Sandra A.)
Age Range 18 to 22 years ♦ above 22 year
Educational Use Research
Education Level UG and PG
Learning Resource Type Article
Publisher Date 2005-08-01
Publisher Place New York
Journal Communications of the ACM (CACM)
Volume Number 53
Issue Number 6
Page Count 5
Starting Page 149
Ending Page 153


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Source: ACM Digital Library