Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Management


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Alexander J. Barelka, PhD


While social network sites (SNS) are a popular form of new media, the literature has not investigated the social influence of these internet sites. Using a mixed method approach of qualitative interviews and a laboratory experiment, this study tests a process model predicting the effects of communication processes and technology on social influence. This model suggested that SNSs may be more effective at social influence than face-to-face communication. A qualitative study was performed to determine whether the hypotheses were plausible whereby it was suggested that SNSs may influence other individuals and SNSs might be a more effective at influencing individuals when compared to other methods of communication. Qualitative results illustrate that social network sites have several strengths over traditional communications mediums and that they can be used to effectively influence others. The results of the experiment found that face-to-face communication was more effective than social network sites at influencing individuals. The data implies that sharing more ideas, when combined with slower communication medium such as SNSs, can actually result in less social influence. However, Facebook participants overwhelmingly felt that they needed more time to complete tasks. Thus, it is not yet possible to reject the theory that SNSs have the potential to be more influential than face-to-face communication.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number