Social Media and Entrepreneurship: Exploring the Role of Digital Source Selection and Information Literacy

Shahrokh Nikou*, Malin Brännback, Thao Orrensalo, Gunilla Widén

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

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Internet-based applications, such as social media, offer potentially effective and efficient vehicles to access, use, and distribute information as well as means to network with other actors. However, for realizing this potential, critical competencies are information and digital literacy. In this chapter we discuss the importance of information literacy (IL) in the context of social media. Information literacy is defined as cognitive skills necessary for using and evaluating information in an educated and effective way. IL is a necessary competence for entrepreneurs in general and specifically for entrepreneurs relying entirely or partially on social media in their entrepreneurial activities. We argue that access and use of information is an important way for entrepreneurs to reduce uncertainty in their entrepreneurial action. Information literacy and information source selection are important to practicing entrepreneurs as most need to access information in order to run their business, information from policy makers, financing institutions, tax authorities, and legal counsel, to name a few. This information is today inherently provided in digital format.

In this chapter our focus is on digital information and specifically digital source selection and information literacy. We have studied 145 Finnish entrepreneurs and analyzed their information literacy in relation to digital source selection. Results show that while information literacy impacts digital information source selection, that relationship is influenced by source accessibility and the task complexity. Interestingly, and somewhat unexpectedly, the study revealed that source selection is directly influenced by the opinions of peers or social norms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Social Media and Entrepreneurship
Subtitle of host publicationThe Business of Hashtags, Likes, Tweets and Stories
Editors Schjoedt, Leon, Brännback, E. Malin, Carsrud, Alan L (Eds.)
PublisherSpringer, Cham
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-43453-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-43452-6
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

NameExploring Diversity in Entrepreneurship
ISSN (Print)2567-7357
ISSN (Electronic)2567-7659


  • Digital transformation
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Information literacy
  • Digital literacy


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