Why Do You Usually Choose to Post an Article on Facebook, Twitter or Other Social Media?
In order to examine that question, a range of six possible answers (an interesting picture, an interesting video, my friends have posted it, many other users have posted it, the perceived interest of the text or something else) were given to respondents.
The findings presented in this study indicate that the text was the most important reported reason with significant differences to all other reasons, followed by the video variable. These results are confirmed in the three main population samples (computer laboratory, mass media website, and English sample) (Hypothesis H2). More precisely, the mean of the text variable was 4.29 concerning the first sample, 4.34 for the second sample, and 3.93 for the third sample. Regarding video, the means were 3.06, 2.88, and 2.74 for the three samples, respectively. One of the most striking findings has to do with the consistency of answers concerning the order of the reported reasons that drive users to share online. In all three samples the order was precisely the same, as follows: (a) text, (b) video, (c) other reasons, (d) picture, (e) friends have posted it, and (f) many others have posted it. It should be noted that a similar factor analysis was also conducted using a quite large sample of a previous research (N = 6,998), where WTPE was found (Antonopoulos et al., 2015). Based on these additional results, it is clearly evident that text was once again the most important reported reason for sharing online articles (mean = 4.02) followed by video and in the third place picture.
Web Third-Person Effect Hypothesis: Do likes and Shares Affect Users’ Perceptions?
This paper studies the web third-person effect (WTPE) hypothesis in the context of news websites and social media. Specifically, the study examines the role of social media metrics (i.e., shares and likes of news articles) in shaping users’ opinion about the websites. Users’ news sharing intention in social media is also investigated. Based on a structured online questionnaire (N = 7,404), the results confirm that WTPE can be found in social media metrics without the presence of specific message content. It should be noted that the effect was found at three perceptual levels, self, friends, and other users. Regarding intention for news sharing, text was indicated as the most important reason among Internet users. Finally, the work demonstrates significant correlations between WTPE and article characteristics that influence people’s attitudes to share news online.