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The Lived Meanings of Product Placements in Social Network Sites (SNSs) Among Chinese Urban White-Collar Professionals: A Story of Happy Network

Chen, Huan
Committee Members: 
Dr. Eric Haley
May 2011

Abstract: A phenomenology study reveals the lived meanings of product placement in social network sites (SNSs) among Chinese urban, white-collar professional users through an investigation of a newly launched SNS, Happy Network. In total, 25 face-to-face, in-depth interviews were conducted to collect data. Findings indicated that participants’ interpretations of product placement were interrelated with the socially constructed meanings of the SNS, participants’ social role of white-collar professionals, and the consumer culture of contemporary Chinese society. In particular, the emerged themes with regard to the shared meanings of the SNS include five dialectic relations: in control/controlled by, dependent/independent, public/private, intimate/distant, and personal/social. Meanwhile, the socially constructed meanings of product placement in the context of SNS are justifying the existence, connecting to the real world, noticing the familiar, insinuating brand image, and linking to consumption.