Sending mobile messages to different social ties in modern urban life: How do anxiety and time-shortage matter?

Wing Sing Cho, Humphry Hung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effectiveness of mobile messaging for the purposes of information sharing and social networking based on the types of social ties involved. The authors identify two psychological traits in the model: perceived time shortages (TSs) and anxiety trait. These traits can influence individuals’ mobile-messaging usage by facilitating users’ connections to different social ties in modern urban life. Design/methodology/approach – The authors distributed questionnaires at random on the streets of certain densely populated areas in Hong Kong to young urbanites, who are the dominant users of technological social media. The authors collected 492 valid responses, which the authors analysed via multivariate regression analysis. Findings – Mobile messages are more effectively used to share information within strongly tied groups rather than weakly tied groups. However, there is little difference between weakly and strongly connected groups in terms of the perceived effectiveness of mobile messages used for social networking. Anxious people are more inclined to send mobile messages to individuals with whom they have weak ties, and people who perceived TSs send more mobile messages to individuals with whom they have strong ties. Research limitations/implications – The rapid nature of information and communication technology has enabled new “richer” forms of mobile media. For instance, WhatsApp allows people to attach images and other multimedia files to their messages, and WeChat provides a location-sharing service that enables users to meet new people based on their friendship preferences. Future studies should examine this trend. Originality/value – This study contributes to the literature by elaborating the mobile-messaging behaviour of urban citizens who are anxious and perceive TSs within strongly and weakly connected social groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-569
Number of pages26
JournalInformation Technology and People
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Information
  • Social network analysis
  • Social networking (e.g. Facebook Second life)
  • Virtual identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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