Purpose: Facebook community leaders, often nonprofessionals who make a personal decision to create and manage online spaces, are becoming key players on social media sites. Using the theoretical framework of the uses and gratifications theory, this paper reveals the motivations of these individuals who are responsible for the community's information flow, limits and members' well-being. While some studies have begun acknowledging community leaders' important role in the social media, very little is known about their motivations for creating and leading the communities, often voluntarily. Design/methodology/approach: Using both quantitative and qualitative analyses, data were collected through a survey of 94 Facebook community leaders about their motivations for creating and leading their communities. Findings: The content analysis of the open-ended question reveals that leaders are motivated to create communities to satisfy informational needs, social needs and individual interests. A factor analysis shows five distinct motivations for leading: social, personal, influence, efficacy and community goals. Finally, a hierarchical regression indicates that extroversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, time spent per day and being the creator of the community can predict the level of motivation to lead the Facebook community. Originality/value: As more and more organizations use online communities, the findings of this study may provide insights into leaders' motivations that can help organizations select their community leaders. This study expands on current research about a popular communication tool, Facebook communities, by examining it within the context of the unique role of online leadership in the social media environment.
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© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.
- Online community
- Online leadership
- Social media