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Disentangling Twitter’s Adoption and Use (Dis)Continuance: A Theoretical and Empirical Amalgamation of Uses and Gratifications and Diffusion of Innovations

Drawing on Uses and Gratifications (UG) Theory and Diffusion of Innovation Theory (DIT), this study aimed to augment an exploration of individual user needs based on UG constructs with an analysis of the material characteristics of the innovation based on DIT constructs to provide a comprehensive explanation of people‘s motivations underlying various Twitter usage levels and frequencies. Whereas previous literature on Social Network Sites (SNS) have explored individuals‘ motivations underlying initial adoption, the equally interesting and relevant question of use (dis-) continuance has so far been largely overlooked. To fill this void in the literature, this study compares active users that have continued to use Twitter and inactive users that initially adopted, yet discontinued usage of Twitter. This study provides insights into different usage levels and frequencies through an investigation of 1) users‘ perceptions of the medium, 2) users‘ expected outcomes associated with the medium‘s use, and 3) the role and effect of mobile access. An analysis of 130 surveys with Partial Least Squares (PLS) and R2 partitioning revealed that an understanding of adoption and use (dis-) continuance of Twitter requires us to account for both user-related motivations (UG) and perceived characteristics of the medium (DIT), as combining UG and DIT increased explanatory power (R2) for the overall sample. Furthermore, our findings showed that inactive users‘ initial adoption and subsequent discontinuance was solely impacted by user-related needs, (i.e. UG constructs), whereas active users‘ continued use was largely motivated by technology characteristics, (i.e. DIT constructs). Finally, our study revealed significant differences between active and inactive users in terms of the devices and platform used for accessing Twitter, with active users reporting a significantly higher use of mobile devices. Based on these findings, we discuss contributions and implications for future research and practice.