Uses and Gratifications

I read this article today, ‘Explaining Why Young Adults Use Myspace and Facebook Through Uses and Gratifications Theory’ [published in Human Communication Vol.12, No.2], examines why young adults use social network sites; or specifically, the uses and gratifications psychological communications perspective, focuses on how and why people use the social network sites to fulfill their wants and needs.  The study opens with the cognitive and affective needs of people (personal and entertainment), which include  personal identity, escape, and self-presentation, and how these needs motivate people to use social networking sites.
The systematic part of the study presented findings about what they established during a questioning of 50 university students about their usage, and the main themes in the responses. They found that people liked SNS because they provide a means of : efficient communication, convenient communication, curiosity about others, popularity, and relationship formation/reinforcement. Or in other words, people like the social sites because they provide: information, interpersonal communication, and entertainment (pg.219), and users can experience selective and immediate connection, and seek approval/support from others, all in one place.
I think the study might be a bit old. The information is still good, but I think most of the findings of this article have become common knowledge at this point. The powerful influences of social networking sites is being taught to children these days (not college students), so that they understand how instantaneous information can travel. Example: I think we’ve all seen a photo on FB along the lines of: “Help my 4th grade class understand how fast social media can spread news! Share this photo”


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