CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Computing and Engineering


Souren Paul

Committee Member

Ling Wang

Committee Member

Sanjoy Ghose


The rapid growth of the Internet has led to the proliferation of technology, including the use of social network sites (SNS). Social network sites facilitate communications between online users with shared interests and enable users to share content seamlessly. Participation in SNS is increasingly global in nature by individuals from diverse social and cultural backgrounds. Accordingly, the rapid growth of social network site usage necessitates the analysis of factors affecting usage of SNS and the creation of social networks on the social network sites.

There are numerous drawbacks related to SNS usage. Inherent drawbacks of SNS include naivety of social network users freely divulging personal information, the potential of exploitation by devious members and loss of privacy. These drawbacks could negatively affect trust and reciprocity in social network site transactions.

A research model that focuses on the measurement of cultural diversity, native language diversity, identification needs, trust in SNS interactions, reciprocity in SNS interactions, configuration of SNS, sense of community and effective communication on the activities of social network sites. The model suggests how the configuration of SNS and the diversity of SNS users influence different relational facets of social capital such as trust, reciprocity and identification needs in SNS and the sense of community in SNS. We conducted a web-based survey to collect the data to test our hypotheses. We find that SNS users identification needs and trust in interaction have positive relationships with reciprocity in SNS interactions. We also find that the development of the sense of community promotes effective communication in SNS.