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ABSTRACT

The Internet has expanded rapidly and shifted from being solely an information access tool to being an interaction tool used by individuals to discover and share content, opinions, and information. To develop information connections, individuals are using a variety of technologies to access content and join virtual communities on various social networking sites. Of interest to researchers and organizations is the individuals’ perception of social networking sites using the identified dimensions of ease-of-use, usefulness, information quality, feeling, and usage intention.

In this Web-based study, 226 participants from a professional discussion group provided information regarding their perceptions of social networking sites and access tool usage. The differences in these perceptions based upon the various access methods and various social networking tools are analyzed and reported. The results from simple main effect tests showed that differences exist in both access methods and social networking tool usage.

The usage patterns based upon the access methods can have an impact on the usage behavior of social network sites. High-usage groups have the highest mean values for the perception dimension of ease-of-use for both access method and social networking sites. This suggests that organizations should accommodate and energize mobile users and design changes to their social networking sites to facilitate interaction and information sharing. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.