Abstract: Because most people consider advertising an irritant and a distraction and would avoid it should there be an alternative, advertising agencies strive to utilize the interactive, demassifying, and asynchronous qualities of newer technologies to create an appealing advertisement. The current study investigates whether college students’ attitudes toward advertising on traditional media are different when online advertising is used, especially on Social Media Networking Sites (SMNSs). Employing the concept of reciprocity (of replicating offline attitudes online) and the flow theory that relates one’s concentration on an activity and its impact on other occurrences happening around him or her, 287 college students responded to a questionnaire on their perceptions of online advertising, their preferred SMNS, and the SMNS on which they would consider viewing an advertising message. The results showed that 57.8% of the participants avoid online advertising at all costs, which is similar to their offline perception of advertising. Some 42.2% reported that they may consider viewing online advertising if the attributes of relevance, interest, creativity, and interactivity are present, as in viral advertisement. In addition, among the four SMNSs reviewed — Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn — a majority of students indicated that Facebook is their preferred site for online advertising because it allows for creativity and they consider those messages credible, especially if their Facebook friends tagged, liked, or shared the advertisement.
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