Purpose — This chapter examines the affordances of social media to understand how groups are experienced through social media. Specifically, the chapter presents a theoretical model to understand how affordances of social media promote or suppress entitativity.
Methodology — Participants (N=265) were recruited through snowball sampling to answer questions about their recent Facebook status updates. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to examine the goodness of fit for our model.
Findings — We validate a model of entitativity as it occurs through the affordances offered by social media. Participant’s knowledge that status update responders were an interacting group outside of Facebook affected their perceptions of interactivity in the responses. Interactivity and history of interactions were the strongest predictors of status update entitativity. Further, status update entitativity had positive relationships with overall Facebook entitativity as well as group identity.
Practical implications — To encourage group identity through social media, managers need to increase employees’ perceptions of entitativity, primarily by enabling employees to see the interactions of others and to contribute content in social media platforms.
Originality/value — This is the only study we know of that empirically examines how groups are experienced through social media. Additionally, we draw from an affordance perspective, which helps to generalize our findings beyond the site of our study.
- Group Identity,
- Social Identity,
- Social Media,