PACIS 2022 Proceedings


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With the popularization of mobile devices and the advance of IT, social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, is adopted to satisfy people’s new demands on new channels of acquiring new information with the people of common interests. However, it is difficult to obtain social media users’ attention. Among numerous digital influencers, people selectively follow certain digital influencers and watch their newest publishing on social media. Though the frequent interaction with these digital influencers through the internet is no comparison to the excitement and profoundness associated with in-person interaction, it still provides opportunities for people to take the digital influencers as one of their friends with similar values. This phenomenon is called parasocial interaction (Hu, et al., 2017). Past studies show that parasocial interaction may be affected by personal emotions, such as social anxiety, physical attraction, social attraction, empathy, and loneliness (de Bérail et al. 2019; Hwang and Zhang 2018; Kurtin et al. 2018). However, it remains unclear as to what personal factors and environmental factors affect parasocial interaction and the effect of parasocial interaction on continuance viewing intention. Therefore, our research questions are: 1) what are the effects of perceived personal factors and environmental factors on parasocial interaction in social media community? 2) how do social media users develop their parasocial interaction with digital influencers and thus generate continuance viewing intention toward digital influencers? This study combined Social Cognition Theory (SCT) and Uses and Gratification Theory (UGT) to provide a research framework to explore the parasocial interaction process between the viewers and digital influencers. The framework would be a beginning to explore the importance of parasocial interaction on building the relationship between users and digital influencers. The study holds that when interacting with other social media members and the digital influencers, social media viewers will follow the framework of SCT; i.e., personal motivation, environmental characteristics and actual behavior will interact with each other forming the interaction of social media users. The study explores the impact of personal motivations (including perceived enjoyment and self-presentation) on parasocial interaction and the impact of social support on parasocial interaction. According to UGT, an individual will continue the use of media if they are satisfied with the use of the media. Therefore, if online community members have parasocial interaction with the digital influencers and their needs are satisfied while watching the texts or videos provided by the digital influencers, the members will continue watching the videos organized by the digital influencers.



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