Wilson-Nash C, Pavlopoulou I & Wang Z (2023) Selecting, optimizing, and compensating during lockdown: How older consumers use social networking services to improve social well-being. Journal of Interactive Marketing. https://doi.org/10.1177/10949968231155156
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, older consumers have increased their usage of social networking services (SNS) to avoid social isolation, yet this behavior remains unexplored. Through selective optimization with compensation theory (SOC), concepts from gerontology and marketing are combined to investigate the following research question: how older consumers’ usage of SNS during the pandemic interrelates with the constructs of social well-being? The research draws on qualitative data collated during lockdown in the UK, including fourteen semi-structured interviews from participants aged 65-80, and six months of netnographic data from an online forum geared toward older people. The findings reveal how older consumers leverage three strategies–selection, optimization, and compensation–to improve their use of SNS and social interactions during lockdowns. Such behaviors in turn interrelate with the dimensions of social well-being: social acceptance, social integration, social contribution, social actualization, and social coherence. This research contributes to the marketing literature by 1) introducing a framework for transformative SNS into transformative services research, 2) utilizing theory from gerontology studies to further understand the older consumer, 3) enhancing the sparse understanding on older consumers of SNS. Future research directions and managerial implication are suggested, both for marketers and developers of SNS for ageing consumers.
Social networking services; older consumers; social well-being; COVID-19
Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
Journal of Interactive Marketing