You have been poked: Exploring the uses and gratifications of Facebook among emerging adults
First Monday

You have been poked: Exploring the uses and gratifications of Facebook among emerging adults by Brett A. Bumgarner



Abstract
The social networking site Facebook has become an inescapable phenomenon for college students, but little systematic research has studied why these students use Facebook. I conducted an online survey among Facebook users at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (N=1,049) to examine why they use Facebook and how it fulfills their needs. The most prevalent use of Facebook was as a social activity – students reported using Facebook with friends to view and discuss other people’s profiles. Essentially, Facebook appears to operate primarily as a tool for the facilitation of gossip.

Contents

Introduction
What exactly is Facebook?
Understanding the Facebook user
Uses and gratifications theory
Facebook, voyeurism and exhibitionism
Methods
Sample
Measures
Procedure
Results
Discussion
Conclusion

 


 

Introduction

Since its inception in February 2004, Facebook (http://www.facebook.com) has rapidly become not only one of the most popular Web sites for social networking, but also one of the most popular sites overall. Facebook currently ranks as the sixth most trafficked site in the United States and the number one site for photo–sharing (Facebook, 2007). It has been featured in several national publications, including Newsweek (Schwartz, 2005) and USA Today (Kornblum and Marklein, 2006), and has injected the verb “facebook” into young America’s lexicon (Francisco, 2005). According to Facebook spokesperson Chris Hughes (2005), Facebook is available at every university in the United States.

Despite the ubiquity of Facebook among the collegiate population, little research has been done on Facebook itself as Facebook opened to the public only in early 2004. No studies have examined why students use Facebook or how it fulfills their needs. The purpose of this research project is to understand what motivates college students to use Facebook and how Facebook gratifies these motivations.

 

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What Exactly Is Facebook?

According to its Web site, Facebook is “a social utility that enables people to understand the world around them.” Originally, people with a university e–mail address could create profiles divulging information about themselves and search for people at their university or other universities. The exclusivity to those with university e–mail addresses has since slackened, opening Facebook up to networks based around high schools, companies and regions as well (Facebook, 2007).

Facebook is part of the current cultural phenomenon of social networking services (SNSs), Web sites that connect people. MySpace and Friendster are two other common SNSs, and scores more exist, such as MeetUp, Orkut, Tribe.net and Ryze (Nagele, 2005).

By the time of Facebook’s founding, social networking had already become a blazingly hot new Internet trend. Mark Zuckerberg was able to capitalize on this trend when he launched Facebook on 4 February 2004 (Francisco, 2005). The site began at Zuckerberg’s university, Harvard, and grew rapidly. Facebook had 4,300 users after only two weeks. In a month, Facebook had become such a hit that it started expanding to other universities. In a year, Facebook was available at universities in Europe (Harvard Crimson, 2005). Only 20 months after going public, Facebook had already expanded to every university in the United States and had an estimated value of US$100 million (Francisco, 2005).

 

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Understanding the Facebook user

To understand why people are motivated to use Facebook, it is important first to understand the standard Facebook user. According to comScore Media Matrix, people aged 18 to 24 disproportionately use online communication methods (comScore, 2005). It is also this 18 to 24 demographic that constitutes 51 percent of SNS users (Hitwise, 2005).

This places the typical Facebook user into the life stage sometimes called emerging adulthood. Emerging adulthood is a transitory period between adolescence and adulthood occurring from the age of 18 to the mid–twenties. At this age, people are experiencing freedom by living on their own for the first time and not yet having a family of their own or a career.

This life stage is significant. In 1950 the median ages of marriage for men and women were 22 and 20, respectively. In 2000, however, the median ages of marriage had risen by five years for both genders. Since the rates of college attendance are now higher than ever, families and decisions on career paths occur later in life than usual (Arnett, 2004).

With the age of first marriage older than ever before, a gap is created. This gap represents a time period when individuals are no longer in their original families but are yet to be in their chosen, created families (Arnett, 2004).

To fill this gap, people are relying on their networks of friends for support and to take on the role of a surrogate family. These networks can form groups, donned “urban tribes” by journalist Ethan Watters, and can be functional units that take on many of the roles that a traditional family would fill. Some of these groups care for each other when sick, help each other move furniture or loan each other money when financial times are hard (Watters, 2003).

SNSs such as Facebook give emerging adults a way to maintain and build their friendship networks. By connecting to people in the same geographical area through SNSs, it’s easier than ever for people to connect to groups and join urban tribes (O’Murchu, et al., 2004).

 

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Uses and gratifications theory

Uses and gratifications (UG) theory attempts to explain how people use the media to gratify their wants and needs, what motivates their behavior and what are the consequences of their uses of media. With the advent of the Internet, this perspective seems even more relevant. Audiences undoubtedly play an active role in the messages they receive from the Internet because to find information, they must actively seek it out (Bryant and Zillman, 2002).

Motivations and selection patterns have been studied across a variety of media, such as quiz programs, radio serials and newspapers (Bryant and Zillman, 2002). McQuail (1972) studied users’ motivations for watching television and outlined four main needs that people use the media to satisfy. These were diversion, personal relationships, personal identity and surveillance needs. Diversion needs involve a need to escape or a need for emotional release. Personal relationship needs are motives to connect to others. Personal identity needs include use of the media to help people form, adjust and understand their own identity. Finally, surveillance needs inspire use of the media for information and understanding of the audience’s environment (McQuail, 1972).

 

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Facebook, voyeurism and exhibitionism

Facebook also provides a venue for voyeurism. People can peruse the profiles of various users, read about other users’ interests, read their friends’ comments on their walls or view their friends. People can even scroll through a user’s photo albums and see all of the pictures that that user has uploaded of themselves and all of the pictures that other users have uploaded with that user in it. Profiles can link to other, sometimes more personal, Web sites about the user. Some profiles link to other photo albums or to online journals.

Facebook thus may cultivate what Calvert (2000) refers to as “mediated voyeurism.” According to Calvert’s definition, mediated voyeurism is:

“…the consumption of revealing images of and information about others’ apparently real and unguarded lives, often yet not always for purposes of entertainment but frequently at the expense of privacy and discourse, through the means of mass media and Internet.” [1]

Voyeurism could be important in understanding the use of Facebook. Some motivations for engaging in mediated voyeurism that are applicable to Facebook are finding other people to relate to (Andrejevic, 2004), trying to gain knowledge about others, or boosting one’s self–esteem by deriding others (Calvert, 2000).

Voyeurism wouldn’t be possible without the existence of exhibitionism, or self–disclosure. Without people willing to put their profiles on Facebook, Facebook wouldn’t exist. Different suggested motivations for this sort of exhibitionism include the need to clarify or express one’s identity, the need to validate oneself within the social matrix, the need to disclose personal information as a means of developing a relationship and the need to exert social control (Calvert, 2000).

Facebook may operate as an outlet for exhibitionism. Through profiles, users can clarify their chosen identities. By establishing a large network of friends, users can validate their social viability. In establishing a Facebook account, users leave open the opportunity for others to forge a relationship with them. And, in discriminating between whom to befriend or from whom to accept friendship requests, users exert social control.

 

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Methods

To understand what motivates emerging adults to use Facebook and how Facebook fulfills these motivations, an online survey was conducted. The survey was designed to measure different possible motivations for using Facebook and the importance with which different uses of Facebook were ascribed.

 

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Sample

Participants were selected from the Facebook website at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ten profiles of undergraduates appeared on each page. The ten people whose profiles were listed on every other page were contacted by their listed school e–mail address and asked to participate in the study. Profiles that were obviously not those of real students (e.g., “Corn Cob Bob” or “Paris Hilton”) were not used; the next valid profile was used in its place.

About one–fourth (N=3,944 or 26.5 percent) of the undergraduate population at UNC–CH on Facebook in summer 2005 were contacted. A total of 1,049 students responded to the questionnaire, resulting in a response rate of 26.6 percent.

 

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Measures

The first part of the questionnaire measured how important participants considered their ability to perform 38 specific actions on Facebook. Actions included “poking others,” “writing on friends’ walls” and “joining groups,” among others. Participants were asked to rate how important they valued their ability to perform these actions on a five–point scale, with one being “very unimportant” and five being “very important.”

The second part of the questionnaire measured the students’ motivations for using Facebook. Participants were asked to rate how much they agreed or disagreed with 50 statements on a five–point scale, with one being “strongly disagree” and five being “strongly agree.” Potential motivations were designed to assess the dimensions derived from previous discussions on emerging adults, uses and gratifications theory, voyeurism and exhibitionism.

The questionnaire was pilot tested with a group of undergraduates and revisions were made based on their feedback.

 

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Procedure

The selected participants were contacted by e–mail. The e–mail directed the participants to a Web site where they could complete the questionnaire. After completing the questionnaire, the participants were given the option of providing contact information to be entered into a drawing for a dinner for two at a local restaurant, which 93 percent of respondents did. Reminder e–mail messages were sent out to all participants who had not completed the questionnaire a week later, encouraging those who hadn’t taken the questionnaire to do so. All questionnaires that were submitted within six days of initial contact were included in the analysis.

 

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Results

A principal components analysis was performed on the items measuring how important respondents rated different uses for Facebook and respondents’ motivations for using Facebook. The component analysis identified eight underlying components of uses (Table 1) and nine motivations (Table 2). Items with component score coefficients higher than 0.6 were considered strongly correlated with the component and items with component score coefficients between 0.4 and 0.6 were considered moderately correlated with the component. Items with component scores below 0.4 were considered too weakly correlated with a component to be used for further analysis.

 

Table 1: Components of uses of Facebook.
Notes: Only loadings greater than 0.400 are included. Extraction method: principal components analysis. Rotation method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalization.
 1
Misc. features
2
Groups
3
Friend functions
4
Personal info.
5
Regulatory functions
6
Practical info.
7
Events
8
N/A
Social timeline0.737       
Random profile generator0.704       
Pulse0.665       
Friend details0.591       
Social network visualization0.582       
Be friends with high school students0.550       
Poke others0.469       
Check out Web sites of individuals0.412       
Browse group memberships 0.760      
Make groups 0.740      
Accept or decline group invites 0.648      
Look at someone’s groups 0.644      
Make fake profiles 0.590      
Group discussion boards 0.568      
Accept or decline friend requests  0.699     
Browse through other’s friends  0.691     
Review your friend list  0.684     
Add friends  0.681     
See how you are connected to others through friends  0.583     
Browse through other’s photos   0.736    
Look for photos of a specific person   0.716    
Read personal info   0.647    
Read walls   0.574    
Write on walls   0.493   0.425
Look up people to show someone else who they are  0.4140.450    
Change the content of your wall    0.663   
Privacy settings    0.619   
Update info   0.4070.479   
Message others        
See who listed your courses     0.771  
Look at other courses     0.725  
Get contact info for others     0.515  
Find events      0.807 
Plan events      0.776 
Birthday reminder       0.606
Search for people sharing your info       -0.403
Search for people who fit certain criteria        

 

 

Table 2: Components of motivations for using Facebook.
Notes: Only loadings greater than 0.400 are included. Extraction method: principal components analysis. Rotation method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalization.
 1
Diversion
2
Personal expression
3
Collection and connection
4
Directory
5
Initiating relationships
6
Voyeurism
7
Social utility
8
N/A
9
Herd instinct
Use Facebook to waste time0.815        
I use Facebook to put off doing other things0.815        
It’s entertaining to browse through Facebook0.641        
I’m addicted to Facebook0.610        
I use Facebook out of habit0.546        
Facebook is fun0.506        
Facebook helps me escape from stress0.4810.432       
I make fun of other Facebook profiles0.453        
I use Facebook because I’m curious about what others are up to 0.433       
If I meet someone interesting, I’ll look them up on Facebook         
Facebook lets me craft my identity 0.678       
Facebook allows other people to understand who I am 0.665       
I put a lot of effort into my profile 0.612       
I try to make my profile represent what kind of person I am 0.536    0.404  
I use Facebook to understand certain people better  0.512  0.404   
I’m less lonely with Facebook 0.496       
I like to see how other people react to my profile 0.461       
I adjust my profile based on how other people react to it 0.411       
I’d like to get a lot of Facebook friends  0.619      
Facebook helps me conceptualize my social network  0.600      
Facebook is like a catalogue of my social contacts  0.593      
I’m interested in seeing how many friends I have on Facebook  0.588      
Facebook is like my collection of people I know  0.577      
Facebook helps me feel connected to everyone  0.519      
I feel like part of a community on Facebook 0.4680.513      
Facebook helps me organize my social life  0.498      
I use Facebook so I can get in touch with someone if I need to 0.785     
I use Facebook to keep in contact with people 0.723     
I use Facebook so others can get in touch with me if they want to 0.713     
I use Facebook like an address book or a directory 0.634     
I use Facebook to help me keep track of people 0.549 0.473   
I use Facebook so I can find people in my classes to talk about work 0.511   0.493 
I use Facebook to help find dates 0.801    
I use Facebook to find hook–ups 0.786    
I use Facebook to help find romance 0.742    
I make friends with people through Facebook 0.517    
I use Facebook to find out about parties or other events 0.438    
I keep tabs on people through Facebook 0.567   
I use Facebook because I’m nosey0.457    0.511   
I like looking at pictures of attractive people on Facebook 0.4110.470   
I compare myself to other people on Facebook 0.463   
I “stalk” people on Facebook 0.445   
Facebook helps me know what to talk about with certain people 0.419   
I like knowing how people are connected on Facebook     
I look at Facebook with friends 0.620  
I talk with other people about Facebook 0.581  
I like things such as fake profiles or funny Facebook groups 0.599 
I like finding people like me on Facebook   
I’m on Facebook because everyone else is 0.714
Facebook keeps me from being left out 0.424

 

Because there was no obvious conceptual connection between the five items loading on component eight in both sets of items, these components were not included in the analysis.

The items loading on each of the 15 remaining components were combined and weighted using their component score coefficients so that they complied with the same five–point scale with which they were initially measured. To do this, items were multiplied by their component score coefficients, added to the other items in that component grouping, and then divided by the sum of the component score coefficients. Thus, seven new items were created measuring the importance of different uses for Facebook (Table 3), and eight new items were created measuring different motivations for using Facebook (Table 4).

Table 1 lists the different components for uses of Facebook. The first component was a conglomeration of various Facebook features and was labeled “Miscellaneous Features.” As is shown in Table 3, these features were not valued highly by most Facebook users.

Component two, “Groups,” was comprised of group–related items except for “make fake profiles.”

 

Table 3: Ranking of Facebook uses.
Notes: N = 1,001. Items on a five-point scale: 1 — Very unimportant, 2 — Unimportant, 3 — Neither important nor unimportant, 4 — Important, 5 — Very important.
UsesDescriptionMeanStandard deviation
Friend functionsAccepting, adding, browsing through, or reviewing friends; seeing how friends are connected; showing friends other individuals.3.910.737
Personal informationReading personal information, looking through photos, reading walls, etc.3.780.701
Practical informationCourse and contact information.3.380.912
Regulatory functionsFeatures that offer users control over their accounts, i.e., updating info or photos, privacy settings or editorial control over walls.3.320.901
GroupsFeatures related to Facebook groups.2.550.804
EventsFinding or planning events.2.341.039
Misc. featuresFriend details; social timeline; “pulse”; poking; social Web visualization; being friends with high schoolers; etc.2.080.712

 

 

Table 4: Ranking of Facebook motivations.
Notes: N = 920. Items on a five–point scale: 1 — Strongly disagree, 2 — Disagree, 3 — Neutral, 4 — Agree, 5 — Strongly agree.
MotivationDescriptionMeanStandard deviation
Social utilityUsing Facebook with friends; talking with others about Facebook.3.910.691
DirectoryUse as a directory and to keep track of people, such as for class information.3.710.682
VoyeurismLearning about others from a distance; comparing oneself to others.3.130.731
Herd instinctsUsage because everyone else does; not wanting to be left out.3.080.865
Collection and connectionAmassing friends; organizing friends; feeling connected to others.3.040.759
Personal expressionExpressing oneself, such as to develop relationships; gaining feedback on oneself; having others understand oneself.2.690.722
Initiating relationshipsMeeting people, particularly for romantic or sexual reasons; finding parties or events.1.980.652

 

Component three, “friend functions,” included friend–related features, such as friend lists, adding, declining or accepting friend requests and looking at the connections among friends.

“Look up people to show someone else who they are” is an interesting item in that it loads on both components three and four. While not exactly a feature of Facebook, it is using Facebook to find someone’s profile and show a friend who they are. Because of this, the item fits right in with the voyeuristic qualities of component four, personal information. Many of these items involve using Facebook to gather personal information about others, whether through their photos, the personal information section of their profile or their wall.

Component five, “regulatory functions,” is composed primarily of features that offer users control over their accounts, such as the ability to update profiles or photos, privacy settings or editorial content over one’s wall. It is unclear why messaging others is also positively related to these uses. However, this item loaded only moderately on component five, whereas all of the other items loaded strongly.

Component six loads strongly on Facebook’s course–related features, but also on contact information. Thus, component six was labeled “practical information.”

Component seven, “events,” loaded strongly with both finding and planning events on Facebook.

Table 3 shows how Facebook users value each of the use components. Friend functions ranks the highest. Personal information, practical information and regulatory functions were all also valued by Facebook users. Neither groups nor events seemed too important to Facebook users, as both scored on the lower half of the scale. Miscellaneous features served as a catchall for Facebook features deemed unimportant by users.

Table 2 shows the different components for motivations for using Facebook. The items for each component don’t always smoothly fit together under one clear motivation, so all of the items for each component were examined for overriding themes.

Component one, diversion, strongly mirrors McQuail’s motivation of diversion. Diversion entails the use of Facebook as a means of entertainment, escape or out of habit. Also, being motivated to use Facebook out of curiosity loads moderately on this component.

Component two, personal expression, seems tied to the previously discussed motivations for exhibitionism. One, it involves using Facebook of a means of creating an identity and expressing it. Two, it involves the hope that others will understand and appreciate this identity. Three, it involves adjusting this identity based on how others react to it.

Component three, collection and connection, involves using Facebook to collect friends, organize and conceptualize one’s social network and feel more connected to others. As previously discussed, emerging adults have frequently changing social lives and may be in search of surrogate families or “urban tribes.” Those motivated by collection and connection may be using Facebook to instill social stability into their lives and to feel connected to others.

The fourth component, directory, is the motivation of using Facebook as an index or reference guide. People who are motivated to use Facebook for this use Facebook to find out how to contact someone, to allow others to contact them if they need to, or to find out who is in their classes so that they can contact them about schoolwork.

Component five, initiating relationships, primarily entails using Facebook to initiate relationships, often romantic or sexual, or to find parties or other events.

The sixth component, voyeurism, is tied to the previously discussed motivations for voyeurism. These users use Facebook to keep track of people and because they’re curious about what other people are up to. Voyeuristic users use Facebook to compare themselves to others. This motivation additionally entails using Facebook to learn about other people from a distance to achieve social efficacy.

Users motivated by the seventh component, social utility, use Facebook as a social activity with friends and as a topic of conversation. These users build and strengthen relationships with Facebook. It is important to note that this is not the same as building or strengthening relationships through Facebook, however. This component also loads on putting a lot of effort into one’s Facebook profile, but with a component coefficient of 0.404 and the cutoff point being 0.400, this loading is weak in comparison to the other two.

The ninth and final component, Herd Instinct, is simply the bandwagon effect. These users use Facebook because everyone else is and they don’t want to be left out.

Table 4 answers the question of why emerging adults are using Facebook, with the most prevalent motivation being social utility. Directory and diversion are both also common motivations for using Facebook. The motivation of initiating relationships, on the other hand, is rather uncommon, as is the motivation of personal expression.

The motivation components were correlated with the original 38 use items (Table 5). Only items with a correlation of 0.4 or greater (ρ < 0.01) were included in the tables. In Table 5, we see which specific Facebook uses are correlated with the motivations.

Neither herd instinct nor initiating relationships is notably correlated to any use. As could be expected, getting people’s contact information is notably correlated only with directory, updating one’s info is notably correlated only with personal expression, and reviewing one’s own friend list is notably correlated only with collection and connection.

 

Table 5: Correlations between Facebook motivations and specific Facebook uses.
Notes: N: 999–1,040. All items (Pearson product–moment correlation coefficients) are significant at ρ < 0.01. Correlations above .40 are highlighted. Only items with at least one correlation >e; 0.40 are included.
Specific usesMotivations
 DiversionPersonal expressionCollection and connectionDirectoryInitiating relationshipsVoyeurismSocial utilityHerd instinct
Update information0.310.410.350.280.200.310.370.12
Get contact information0.130.180.210.440.170.240.220.06
Read other’s personal information0.430.410.370.290.230.470.400.15
Writing on walls0.410.350.420.220.210.290.370.12
Reading walls0.480.390.420.190.260.420.390.18
Browse through photos of others0.410.350.370.260.270.410.400.19
Look for photos of a specific person0.370.350.350.310.310.430.380.20
Look at the groups of others0.370.430.380.290.240.430.320.20
Review friend list0.310.380.430.250.230.340.350.15
Browse through friends of others0.380.390.430.250.270.440.390.28
Add friends0.380.410.450.350.200.380.470.15
Look up people to show someone else who they are0.390.280.310.340.150.400.530.16

 

Every item correlated above 0.40 with voyeurism involves learning about other people through Facebook. It is even moderately correlated with reading other people’s walls but not with writing on them.

Reading other people’s walls is also the primary way in which Facebook users gratify the motivation of diversion.

The highest correlation here is between social utility and looking up people to show someone else who they are. Because social utility is the most prevalent motivation for using Facebook, this relationship is of special importance.

 

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Discussion

The most prevalent motivation for using Facebook is as a social activity. Typical Facebook users use and talk about Facebook with their friends. They look at people’s photos, read their profiles with their friends and talk about them. They use Facebook to show their friends who someone else is. Essentially, Facebook operates primarily as a tool for the facilitation of gossip. It makes sense that Facebook would be ideal for this kind of communication. With Facebook, for those interested in gossip can bring up everything they need to talk about their subjects, from photos to a list of their interests to the status of relationships.

Facebook users do have other motivations, too. Facebook works handily as a directory of their friends’ contact information, practically eliminating the need for address books. And, if people need information about class and they can’t think of any classmates offhand, Facebook can offer them a list of their classmates and their contact information. Thus, it shouldn’t be surprising that the use of Facebook as a directory is its second most prevalent use.

It’s worth noting that these two motivations are likely to be applicable specifically to Facebook and not to SNSs in general. Because Facebook is centered on colleges, people are more likely to already know others in their Facebook directory or to be able to recognize them than on SNSs that aren’t geographically based, such as MySpace. Gossip is more interesting when it involves people one knows, so other SNSs may not work as well as a tool for gossip. Similarly, the contact information of strangers on MySpace may be less useful than that of friends or classmates on Facebook.

One motivation that may be more applicable to other SNSs is initiating relationships. Though seemingly uncommon on Facebook, this motivation may have more of a home on other SNSs where the purpose is to meet new people.

Diversion may be a motivation that is applicable to both Facebook and other SNSs. On Facebook, this motivation is gratified through such uses as browsing through people’s photos or reading their profile. Of note is that walls play a seemingly large role in the gratification of this motivation, particularly with those using Facebook for entertainment. Reading and writing on other people’s walls is the main way that people use Facebook for fun.

Both voyeurism and exhibitionism were revealed as motivations for using Facebook. However, using Facebook to create and express an identity is rather infrequent. Interestingly, there are a couple of items loading on this component that have to do with a motivation to be accepted by and connected to others, indicating that that those who engage in exhibitionistic behavior may be doing so as a means for acceptance, both on Facebook and in other venues.

Voyeuristic use of Facebook, on the other hand, is far more commonplace. The gratification of this motivation is exactly as would be expected: reading personal information, looking through photos, seeing who someone’s friends are, reading walls, etc.

One might think that because of Facebook’s ubiquity, it benefited greatly by the snowball effect – a couple of people got on Facebook, then a few more got on because it seemed like the thing to do, and then herd instinct led people to Facebook in droves. While that’s not necessarily false, the data indicate that this is not a primary motivation for why people use Facebook.

Some people use Facebook to collect, organize and feel connected to friends. These users like to amass a large social network on Facebook and look over their collected friends. This isn’t a particularly strong motivation for users, but it isn’t a weak one either.

It is interesting to note that users tended to value personal information more than practical information, however, indicating that Facebook is valued less for utilitarian purposes and more for social purposes.

 

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Conclusion

Facebook could potentially gratify a variety of motivations. People could use Facebook because they just transferred to a new school and want to find and meet new people, or to see who is in their art history class so they can call them and find information about the next test. Some could use Facebook to discover a potential love interest’s favorite music, to keep in touch with old friends from high school, to put off doing work, or just because everyone else is using Facebook.

Though all of these, to varying degrees, seem to be reasons why people use Facebook, the most prevalent way in which people use Facebook is as a social utility. Counter to what may be intuitive, the primary way in which Facebook contributes to socializing isn’t by offering a medium through which people can meet and communicate with others. Instead, it’s by acting as a virtual watering hole that dispenses information about peers. End of article

 

About the author

Brett A. Bumgarner is a graduate from the school of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North at Chapel Hill.

 

Acknowledgements

I appreciate the guidance of Dr. Jane Brown, Paul Jones and Fred Stutzman in making this paper possible.

 

Note

1. Calvert, 2000, pp. 2–3.

 

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Ethan Watters, 2003. Urban tribes: A generation redefines friendship, family, and commitment. New York: Bloomsbury.

 


Editorial history

Paper received 6 September 2007; accepted 10 October 2007.


Copyright ©2007, First Monday.

Copyright ©2007, Brett A. Bumgarner.

You have been poked: Exploring the uses and gratifications of Facebook among emerging adults by Brett A. Bumgarner
First Monday, Volume 12 Number 11 - 5 November 2007
http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2026/1897





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