Chun Meng Tang, Miang Hong Ngerng


Social networking sites are popular among university students, and students today are indeed spoiled for choice. New emerging social networking sites sprout up amid popular sites, while some existing ones die out. Given the choice of so many social networking sites, how do students decide which one they will sign up for and stay on as an active user? The answer to this question is of interest to social networking site designers and marketers. The market of social networking sites is highly competitive. To maintain the current user base and continue to attract new users, how should social networking sites design their sites? Marketers spend a fairly large percent of their marketing budget on social media marketing. To formulate an effective social media strategy, how much do marketers understand the users of social networking sites? Learning from website evaluation studies, this study intends to provide some answers to these questions by examining how university students decide between two popular social networking sites, Facebook and Twitter. We first developed an analytic hierarchy process (AHP) model of four main selection criteria and 12 sub-criteria, and then administered a questionnaire to a group of university students attending a course at a Malaysian university. AHP analyses of the responses from 12 respondents provided an insight into the decision-making process involved in students’ selection of social networking sites. It seemed that of the four main criteria, privacy was the top concern, followed by functionality, usability, and content. The sub-criteria that were of key concern to the students were apps, revenue-generating opportunities, ease of use, and information security. Between Facebook and Twitter, the students thought that Facebook was the better choice. This information is useful for social networking site designers to design sites that are more relevant to their users’ needs, and for marketers to craft more effective marketing communications strategies.

To cite this document:  Chun Meng Tang and Miang Hong Ngerng, "How do students select social networking sites? An analytic hierarchy process (AHP) model", International Journal of Cyber Society and Education, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 81-98, 2015.

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ISSN 1995-6649 - IJCSE - - International journal of cyber society and education