Do men post and women view? The role of gender, personality and emotions in online social activity
According to Nadkarni and Hofmann’s model (2012), a major motivator of social networking sites (SNS) use is the need to belong, i.e., the basic drive to form and maintain relationships. This need can be fulfilled through two kinds of belongingness-related behaviours: information-seeking (using SNS to learn about others) and communication (using SNS to communicate with others). The present study aimed at examining the role of gender, personality traits and emotional competence on each of these two belongingness-related behaviours. A total of 995 self-selected Italian Internet users (67.1% women; age range: 18-56) participated in the study. Results showed that the two online behaviours are influenced by different variables. Among them, the most relevant appear to be emotional competences, as managing emotions reduces both behaviours, using emotions fosters communication, and understanding emotions decreases information-seeking. Extraversion plays a key role as well, promoting both behaviours in women and information-seeking in men, whereas openness to experiences is positively linked to viewing others’ profiles. Finally, men use social networking sites to communicate and express their opinions more often than women. Implications are discussed.