Classifying ecommerce information sharing behaviour by youths on social networking sites

Bernard Jansen, Kate Sobel, Geoff Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Citations (Scopus)


Teenagers and young adults form an economically critical demographic group and are confronted with an array of internet social networking services just as they are forming online information seeking and sharing habits. Using a survey of 34,514 respondents from, the research reported in this paper is an inferential analysis of information seeking and sharing behaviours in the ecommerce domain on four social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, myYearbook and Twitter). Using k-means clustering analysis, we find clusters within this demographic based on levels of being connected on and being engaged with social networking services. Research results show that the majority of this demographic have accounts on multiple social networking sites, with more than 40% having profiles on three social networking sites and an additional 20% having four social networking accounts. We also investigate the motivations for using different social media sites, showing that the reasons for engaging differ among sites. Companies and organizations interested in marketing to this demographic cannot cluster social networking users for more personalized targeting of advertisements and other information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-136
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Information Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes



  • information collaboration
  • information production
  • information seeking
  • information sharing
  • information use
  • online human information behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences

Cite this