The Gratification Niches of Internet Social Networking, E-mail, and Face-to-face Communication The Gratification Niches of Internet Social Networking, E-mail, and Face-to-face Communication
A sample of 340 undergraduate and graduate students from a large western university were surveyed in-class regarding their use of three communications media (internet social networking, e-mail, and face-to-face communication). Students responded to 25 gratifications statements for each medium, rating how often they had used it for that particular purpose. They also responded to a question regarding whether their use of e-mail and face-to-face conversation has changed since they started using social networking sites.
Answers from the gratification statements were subjected to principal component factor analysis using varimax rotation. After throwing out 10 statements due to their incompatibility across the three media, three gratification factors emerged: Gratification Opportunities, Social Utility, and Entertainment. Then using niche formulas, the media was compared across these three factors. Overall, face-to-face communication had the broadest niche, signalling that is best capable of fulfilling media gratifications. It also had the broadest niche in the Social Utility and Entertainment Factor, while e-mail had the broadest niche in the Gratifications Opportunities dimension. The results suggest that social networking may be popular because it acts as a convenient place to hang out – combining its relatively broad niches in Gratifications Opportunities and Entertainment gratifications, but shows little support for a displacement effect caused by its adoption.
School:Brigham Young University
School Location:USA - Utah
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:internet social networking gratification niches myspace facebook theory of the niche uses and gratifications
Date of Publication:10/12/2007