Violi, N., Shneiderman, B., Hanson, A., Rey, P. (June 2011)
This paper presents a three-part experiment designed to investigate the motivations of users of a community safety and neighborhood watch social networking website. The experiment centers around an intervention into the invitation system that current users employ to invite nonmembers to join the site, and involves several versions of an invitation email which differ by expressing one of four possible motivations for using such a site. The research presented investigates how potential users' choice of whether or not to join the site is affected by the use case presented by the invitation. It also includes an investigation of the motivations of current users of the site, as reported in an online survey. The experiment yielded no significant difference in responses to the emails. Overall, invitations that included a specific motivation slightly outperformed those which did not, but not to a statistically significant degree. We conclude that although users have specific motivations for using the site, as reported in the survey, attempting to increase response rates to invitation emails by suggesting use cases of the site is surprisingly unlikely to be successful.