2 Motivation and Value2
3 Reference group3
3.1 Aspiration reference group3
3.2 Informal group4
4 Culture and consumption5
4.1 Supranational culture5
4.2 National culture5
Social networking has brought a great change in to the way people build relations with others. These sites are online platforms where users can create profiles to provide personal information, exchange individual ideas and share their interests with the others. Through social networking sites, people can keep in touch with friends despite the long distance and daily bustle. In this way, networking sites change the old communication pattern that people used to communicate face to face. In addition, more internet users accept this new way to build their social ties. According to the Pew Internet's report on social networking(2011), the number of people using social networking sites raised from 34 of internet users in 2008 to 59% in 2010.
Weibo, the second-largest social networking site in China, can be used as a good example to clearly demonstrate this huge success. It operated by SINA corporation and launched in August 2009. As a microblogging platform, Weibo enables customers publishing, broadcasting and achieving instant information based on their relationship. It does not take too much time for Weibo to get a large number of users. On the second quarter financial report released by SINA Weibo 2012 (cited in LU, 2012), there are 368 millions registered users and 36.5m daily active users on Weibo by the end of June this year. The first driving force of Weibo to attract massive users is its ideally integrating the functions of Twitter and Facebook. Weibo require people to publish posts within 140 Chinese characters and enables people to view embedded pictures and media without leaving the original page. The second appealing feature of Weibo is its Micro topics page that groups up all tweets on a certain topic. Similarly, the hottest trends categorization page and the famous people collection page, named Board of Fame and Hall of Celebrity respectively, are third attributor to the success of this site.
In following, the means-end chain theory, perceptual model and the self will be applied to explain the achievement of Weibo:
2 Motivation and Value
Gutman (1982) presents the Means-end chain that consumer buying behavior determines by fulfilling desired values which could be obtained from the consequence of enjoying the product or service attributes. Desire values could be obtained due to satisfaction of customers in product or services attributes. More specifically, the reason why people consume a certain product/ service is that the nature of the product/ service can generate some outcomes that can achieve individuals' values.This theory can be used to illustrate the success of Weibo.
Each product has its own attributes. However, as a microblogging service, the attributes of Weibo is different from that of physical products. What has been provided by the service, rather that what it looks like, is the features for Weibo. According to Sohn and kim (2012), seven features can be used to identify social networking sites: information, share, communication, interaction, entertainment, intimacy and connection. However, in this case, interaction with other users can be regarded as a two way communication and connection to their friends can be described as the result of communication. Therefore, main attributes for Weibo are information, communication and entertainment.
Regards to information, each profile contains personal information like hometown, interests and schools, etc. And individuals can publish feeds about what they think and what they have seen. Users can possibly follow everyone who they are interested in,...