The exploration of motivations in joining a social networking website



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This study examines the motivations that drive strangers to join and interact with one another through a message-centric, niche social networking website. Using concepts grounded in word-of-mouth and computer-mediated communication, this study looked to explore the personal relationships built and fostered from social networking sites. Data was collected through observations and in-depth interviews with 12 participants of's Austin, Texas forum for wedding planning. Results of the study showed an intricate and somewhat cyclical balance of different group members as their role changed over time. Also, the superficial motivations and expectations entering the site morphed into deeper relationships as participants became more involved in the community.