User Motivations for Social Networking Sites

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Title:
User Motivations for Social Networking Sites Role of Entertainment, Information Gathering, and Interpersonal Utility
Physical Description:
1 online resource (88 p.)
Language:
english
Creator:
Lawrimore,Ginny Hoyle
Publisher:
University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( M.A.M.C.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Mass Communication, Journalism and Communications
Committee Chair:
Armstrong, Cory
Committee Members:
McAdams, Melinda J
Cleary, Johanna

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
entertainment -- facebook -- gratifications -- information -- interpersonal -- motivations -- myspace -- networking -- social -- uses -- utility
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre:
Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract:
This study examines the primary motivations for social networking sites, specifically Facebook. Of researchers' previously identified motivations for use of the Internet, three dimensions of these motivations play a fundamental role in this research: entertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility. Under the uses and gratifications approach, the motivations of entertainment and information gathering have repeatedly been applied to traditional media use, and then later to Internet use. Interpersonal utility, which incorporates such needs as to participate in and belong to a group, to express oneself freely, to give input, and to find out what others say, was found by researchers to be more prevalent in newer media, such as the Internet, and, later, in social networking sites. When combined, this study reveals that these three motivations create a uses and gratifications formula that is specific to the social networking site Facebook. In this study, respondents were asked a series of questions that outlined specific reasons why they use Facebook. From these 17 questions, the three dimensions of motivations were formed: entertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility. The relationship among these three dimensions for use of Facebook proved to be strong and played a significant role in the findings of this research. Essentially, this study demonstrates quantitative support that all three dimensions are primary motivations for users of the social networking site Facebook.
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Ginny Hoyle Lawrimore.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2011.
Local:
Adviser: Armstrong, Cory.

Record Information

Source Institution:
UFRGP
Rights Management:
Applicable rights reserved.
Classification:
lcc - LD1780 2011
System ID:
UFE0043421:00001


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1 USER MOTIVATIONS FOR SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES: ROLE OF ENTERTAINMENT, INFORMATION GATHERING, AND INTERPERSONAL UTILITY By VIRGINIA HOYLE LAWRIMORE A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTERS OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2011

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2 2011 Virginia Hoyle Lawrimore

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3 To m y husband, Dave, my inspiration

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First, I would like to thank my thesis chair, Dr. Cory L. Armstrong, whose guidance and pati ence over the last two years have been invaluable. Dr. Armstrong proved to be a vital resource for me throughout my two years at The University of Florida, and I could not have survived without her unwavering support and encouragement. Next, I would like to thank my committee members, Dr. Johanna Cleary and Prof. Mindy McAdams. every other course, and I paid tribut e to her unique teaching techniques in my own course first introduced me to social media research and her thought inducing philosophical questions rekindled my love for education. I would also like to thank my family and friends, who have supported me throughout graduate school and cheered me on every step of the way. My parents (all six of them Janet, David, Lou, Julie, John and Suzie ) have each played a unique role in keeping my s pirits high and my mind on the right track. My mom and fellow scholar, Janet, aided me tremendously over the last two years (and always) by providing that special moral support that only she can. And my dad, David, also a University of North Carolina at Ch apel Hill journalism grad, has encouraged me to write for as long as I can remember. Most of all, I would like to thank my husband and fellow scholar, Dave, who first inspired me to get an advanced degree. His intelligence and ambition amazes me every sin gle day, and I could not have survived graduate school without his undying love, support, and consideration.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 7 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 8 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE OF STUDY ................................ ...................... 11 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 17 Facebook and MySpace ................................ ................................ ......................... 18 Socioeconomic Division Online ................................ ................................ ............... 24 Uses and Gratifications Approach ................................ ................................ .......... 28 Motivations for Social Networking ................................ ................................ ........... 32 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 39 Selecting a Sample ................................ ................................ ................................ 39 Survey Design Challenges ................................ ................................ ...................... 42 Variable Construction: Entertainment, Info Gathering, Interpersonal Utility ............ 43 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 45 Profile of Respondents ................................ ................................ ............................ 45 Measurements ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 46 Independent Variable Measurement ................................ ................................ ....... 47 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 50 Time Spent Online ................................ ................................ ............................ 50 Time Spent on Facebook ................................ ................................ ................. 51 Enjoyment of Facebook ................................ ................................ .................... 51 Full ................................ ............................ 52 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 60 Research Question 1 ................................ ................................ .............................. 60 Research Question 2 ................................ ................................ .............................. 60 Entertainment ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 61 Information Seeking ................................ ................................ ................................ 62 Interpersonal Utility ................................ ................................ ................................ 63 Study Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 67

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6 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 69 Future Research ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 70 In Closing ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 71 APPENDIX: SURVEY: E MAIL AND SCREENSHOTS ................................ ................. 72 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 82 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 88

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4 1 (Entertainment) Facebook survey questions and statistics ................................ 54 4 2 (Information gathering) Facebook survey questions and statistics ..................... 54 4 3 (Interpersonal utility) Facebook survey questions and statistics ......................... 54 4 4 Six .................. 55 4 5 Three item index fact ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 55 4 6 7 .......... 55 4 7 ............................. 56 4 8 ............... 56 4 9 Independent Sample T Test for time spent online and three dimension s ........... 56 4 10 Time spent on Facebook and three dimensions of social media ........................ 57 4 11 Enjoyment of Facebook and three dimensions of soci al media .......................... 57 4 12 ANOVA: Predictors of entertainment dimension on Facebook. .......................... 58 4 13 ANOVA: Predictors of information gathering di mension on Facebook. .............. 58 4 14 ANOVA: Predictors of interpersonal utility dimension on Facebook. .................. 59

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page A 1 First screen of survey ................................ ................................ ......................... 73 A 2 Second screen of survey ................................ ................................ .................... 73 A 3 Third screen of surv ey (part A) ................................ ................................ ........... 74 A 5 Fourth screen of survey ................................ ................................ ...................... 75 A 6 Fifth screen of survey ................................ ................................ ......................... 76 A 7 Sixth screen of survey ................................ ................................ ........................ 76 A 8 Seventh screen of survey ................................ ................................ ................... 76 A 9 Eighth screen of survey ................................ ................................ ...................... 77 A 10 Ninth screen of survey ................................ ................................ ........................ 78 A 11 Tenth screen of survey ................................ ................................ ....................... 78 A 12 Eleventh screen of s urvey ................................ ................................ .................. 79 A 13 Twelfth screen of survey ................................ ................................ ..................... 80 A 14 Thirteenth screen of survey ................................ ................................ ................ 81 A 15 Fourteenth screen of survey ................................ ................................ ............... 81

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9 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Ar ts in Mass Communication USER MOTIVATIONS FOR SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES: ROLE OF ENTERTAINMENT, INFORMATION GATHERING, AND INTERPERSONAL UTILITY By Virginia Hoyle Lawrimore August 2011 Chair: Cory L. Armstrong Major: Mass Communication This study examine s the primary motivations for social networking sites, specifically Facebook. previously identified motivations for use of the Internet, t hree dimensions of these motivations play a fundamental role in this research : entertainment, informat ion gathe ring, and interpersonal utility. Under the uses and gratifications approach, t he motivations of entertainment and information gathering have repeatedly been applied to traditional media use, and then later to Internet use. Interpersonal utility, w found by researchers to be more prevalent in newer media, such as the Internet, and, later, in social networking sites When combined, this study reveals that these three motivations create a uses and gratifications formula that is specific to the social networking site Facebook In this study, respondents were asked a series of questions that outlined sp ecific reasons why they use Facebook. From these 17 questions, the three dimensions of motivations were formed entertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility. The relationship among these three dimensions for use of Facebook proved to be

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10 strong and played a significant role in the findings of this research. Essentially, this study demonstrates quantitative support that all three dimensions are primary motivations for users of the social networking site Facebook.

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11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE OF STUDY Social networking sites have changed the way people communicate and interact in social interactions, and are used as a primary medium for communica tion and networking ( Back et al., 2010; boyd & Ellison, 2007). In the last decade, research on the intricacies of the social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, has delved hyperpersonal, self expression, voyeurism, exhibitionism, and identity. As the popularity of social networking sites (SNS) particularly Facebook continues to flourish, it is vital that mass communication researchers continue to keep track of the motivations that draw users to these social media platforms. The choices that SNS users make and the motivations behind those choices in selecting a social networking site on which to interact fall under the umbrella of the uses and grati fications approach, which seeks to explain the uses of media and the satisfactions found in them. This theoretical approach allows researchers to examine the how and why of media use and, specifically, focus on how media are used to satisfy cognitive and a ffective needs involving personal needs and entertainment needs ( Rubin, 2002; Stafford, Stafford, & Schkade, 2004). As the use of social network sites continues to increase across all demographics, this study aims to provide significant data on the most cu rrent motivations for using social networking sites and determine the primary motivations found for their use (Pew Internet, 2010a). Taking a step back from what draws people to linger on these sites, research today has only begun to brush the surface of examining the societal implications of

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12 popular social networking sites. With millions of users of social networking sites across the nation and globe, the decision to use either MySpace or Facebook could potentially be a divisive way in which people are se gregated according to socioeconomic status. Initial findings by new media researcher danah boyd 1 signaling a clear divide based on class when selecting social networking sites. Further, recent marketing statistics suggest that more affluent members of society are more likely to frequent Facebook, while less affluent members are more likely to connect on MySpace ( Hare, 2009) The questions raised from these preliminary findings are of profound importance in the way in which members of our society choose to associate with one another virtually and how the media industry interacts with users of social networking sites. Are these social networking sites creating a division between users based on socioeconomic status? Specificall y, does socioeconomic status affect which social networking site a user selects? How can the media industry identify and target these seemingly self segregated online audiences? Facebook and MySpace are both online social networking sites, a service that allows its users to construct a public or semi public profile, create a list of other users and those made by others within the Web site (boyd & Ellison, 2007). The ir rapid growth suggests that social networking sites fill a deep seated human desire: to communicate with, and keep track of the activities of, a wide circle of others (Donath, 2007; Thelwall & Wilkinson, 2010; Tufekci, 2008). As a result of their establi shed (and growing) popularity, there have been many concerns about the social impact of social networking 1 Social media researcher danah boyd does not capitalize her name; therefore, all references will appear in lower c ase throughout this study.

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13 sites and research is needed to understand them more fully (Brake & Livingstone, 2010; Mitchell & Ybarra, 2008; Thelwall & Wilkinson; Wang & Wellman, 2010). Social computing applications, led by social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, have flourished in the past few years; however, scholarly research on the societal effects of socializing online has not caught up (Tufekci, 2008). To explain h ow, over the course of the last five years, social networking has begun to stratify in line with socioeconomic status, a number of reasons have been suggested. In the timeline of events for these two Web sites, early adoption might play a role in that MySp ace came out first and quickly attracted urban 20 somethings, while Facebook began at Harvard and spread to the Ivy Leagues before expanding to the general public (boyd, 2009). Some researchers have argued that, in the beginning, the major lure of Facebook was its initial e xclusivity, since it required a .edu e mail account to register (Raskin, 2006). Since Facebook was slow to open its virtual doors from universities to, first, high schools, and then the general public, some users might see MySpace as more democratic from the outset. Other researchers suggest that people most prefer what they first encountered and enjoyed (Levinson, 2009). However, it is not clear why some users choose to close accounts on MySpace and join Facebook instead while others do not. boyd (2009) suggests an un comfortable explanation: modern connections to others, in their belief that a more peaceful, quiet, less public space would same social patterns as urban white flight (boyd, 2009). The popular press which

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14 often reflects the lives of a more pr ivileged sector of society perhaps furthered this (2010) found that users of Twitter, a microblogging site with SNS features, are well educated and more likely to live in higher income households. Twitter has emerged as a favored channel for private communication among the most popular, technology savvy, and high income American communities, who protect their accounts by making them available to only a small group of friends (Mediashift, 2011). Hispanic users of Twitter are also on the ri se, making up roughly 17% of overall users (Webster, 2010). These early findings signal an intertwining of race and socioeconomic status that open up room for research on why users are motivated to choose one social networking site over another. For the purpose of this study, socioeconomic status (SES) can be conceptually cial and economic position within a hierarchical social structure. Most theories explain that research involving social inequalities between groups include indicators of socioeconomic status with the individual, such as income, education level achieved, or occupation (Kennedy, Glass, & Prothrow Stith, 1998). the industry to examine given what little is known of audience demographics within this popular new form of online interac tion. These users are seemingly dividing themselves based on affluence in unprecedented ways (Hare, 2009; Sydell, 2009), and this research is a launching pad for advertisers and researchers in the media industry to understand and reach target audiences onl ine.

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15 This study contributes to the body of knowledge in mass communication research about social networking sites by questioning users of popular social networking sites about their motivations for use. The uses and gratifications model provides the theor etical framework of understanding on which this research is based. Essentially, this study aims to examine whether users of Facebook and MySpace divide themselves according to socioeconomic status and determine primary motivations for using social networki ng sites. While the results from this research prove to be successful in revealing primary motivations for the social networking site Facebook, the question of socioeconomic status playing a role in user choice between MySpace and Facebook is left unanswer ed. The vast majority of social networking site users in this study are on Facebook and not MySpace, which left no room for comparison of socioeconomic status. Ultimately, this study reveals that research on social networking sites in 2009 has been invalid ated only two years later and that social media is, essentially, a moving target for researchers. Chapter 1 has introduced the key concepts surrounding social networking sites and the outlined the purpose of this study. Chapter 2 will review relevant rese arch on social networking sites and fill in the academic gaps on initial examinations of socioeconomic division online, motivations for the use of social networking sites, and the application of the uses and gratifications approach in this research. Of par ticular importance will be an examination of the predominant motivations for use of social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace. Ultimately, three primary dimensions of social networking motivations entertainment, information gathering, and in terpersonal utility will provide the foundation of this study.

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16 Chapter 3 will outline the justification of the method used survey research and explain the selection of the sample, collection of data, notable challenges, and limitations found. Additi onally, this chapter will outline the frequencies and patterns participants use Facebook, in particular. Chapter 4 will outline the results found from research questions (outlined at the end of Chapter 2). Chap ter 5 will provide discussion of this study as well as the problems found within and outline the conclusion and recommendations for future research.

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17 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW More than 700 mil lion people across the world currently have profiles on social networking sites, which are now considered part of the milieu of modern social interactions and are widely used as a primary medium for communication and networking ( Back et al., 2010; boyd & E llison, 2007). In the United States, the use of social networking sites has risen significantly across all demographics in the last five years. Seventy three percent of American teens with Internet access now use social n etworking sites, compared to 55% in November 2006 and 65% in February 2008 (Pew Interne t, 2010b). Meanwhile, 47% of online adults use social netw orking sites, up from 37% in November 2008 (Pew Internet, 2010b). Specifically, 72% of online 18 to 29 year olds use social networking (nearly ma tching teen rates), a number t hat is well above the 39% of social networking users ages 30 and above (Pew Internet, 2010b). In many ways, college students were the pioneers of online social interaction, as their platform preferences have traditionally dete rmined which ones gain mainstream popularity and which ones fall by the wayside (King, 2009). Facebook is currently the most commonly used social networking s ite among adults, as 73% of adults online have a profile on Facebook, 48% have a profile on MySpa ce and 14% have a profile on LinkedIn (Pew Internet, 2010b). As more adults join social networking, teens have shown a tendency to code their public messages in private language, such as song lyrics or personal jokes, that are decipherable only to those fr iends who are the intended recipients of the message (Mediashift, 2011). Adults appear to be fragmenting their soci al networking use, as 52% of those who use SNS report that they have two or more different pr ofiles, up from 42% in May 2008 (Pew

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18 Internet, 2 010b). Compared to adults, young profile owners are more likely to maintain a profile on MySpace (66%, compared to 36% of those 30 and older), and less likely to have a profile on the professiona lly oriented LinkedIn (7% versus 19% ) (Pew Internet, 2010b). Meanwhile, adults who use social networking sites and are under 30 and those over 30 are equally as likely to maintain a profile on Facebook 71% of young profile owners do so, compared with 75% of older profile owners (Pew Internet, 2010b). Social networ king site use among users ages 50 and older nearly doubled in 2010, jumping from 22% to 42% (Pew Internet, 2010a). While the use of social networking has expanded dramatically across all age groups, older users (age 50 and older) have been actively embraci ng new networking tools (Pew Internet, 2010a). Although e mail continues to be the primary means of communication with others, many now rely on social networking tools to manage daily communications, such as sharing links, photos, videos, news and status u pdates with a growing network of contacts (Pew Internet, 2010a). While social networking site users ages 18 29 are the heaviest users of sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, their growth was small compared to that of older users. Between April 2009 and May 20 10, Internet users ages 50 64 (who said they use a social networking site like Facebook, MySp ace or LinkedIn) grew 88% and those 65 or older doubled in their adoption, compared with a growth of only 13% of those ages 18 29 (Pew Internet, 2010a). Facebook and MySpace In the year 2010, social networking use continued to significantly increase, with 9 (ComScore, 2011). Among the many social networking sites that have developed in the United States in the past decade, two in particular, MySpace and Facebook, have been

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19 among the most popular and arguably the most significant. The average Internet user spends more than 4 hours on SNS each month and nearly 1 out of every 8 minutes online is spent on Facebook (comScore, 2011). In October 2010, the top 20 most visited Web sites included Facebook (No. 2); YouTube (No. 4, has SNS features, but predominantly used for video sharing); Twitter (No. 7); and MySpace (No. 18, though this ranking has fluctuated between Nos. 7 and 18 in 2010) (Alexa, 2010; Thelwall & Wilkinson, 2010). world social e more than 500 million active users more than half of whom log onto the site daily. Facebook began in 2004 at Harvard University, where users (students) were required to have a harvard.edu e mail address in order to sign up. Eventually, the social net working site branched out to other universities (also requiring a .edu e mail address) before expanding offerings in 2005 to high school students, businesses, and, finally, to anyone with a valid e mail address (boyd & Ellison, 2007). While Facebook is now available to everyone, some researchers argue that it contains a demographic bias 204). 2010 film The Social Network social networking site (Thelwall & Wilkinson, 2010).

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20 Facebook is used primarily to maintain existing offline relationships instead of meeting new people online (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007). It is in this capacity that the community of Facebook app ears to be based more on the real life community of nts an understudied offline to online trend in that it originally primarily served a geographically Meanwhile, MySpace is one in a growing number of social networking sites on which users create and view persona l profiles (Boo th, 2008). The social networking site is a self the Internet through a social lens by integrating pe rsonal profiles, photos, videos, Originally launched in January 2004, MySpace now claims more than 100 million monthly active users around the globe half of whom are in t he United States (MySpace, 2011b). The SNS was acquired by News Corp. in October 2005 and remains a division of it today (MySpace, 2010; News Corporation, 2010). However, nearly half of growth and Webb, 2008, p. 36). The SNS claims to be a leading social entertainment destination iding a highly personalized experience around entertainment and connecting people to the music,

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21 audience, MySpace is well known for its emphasis on politics and music. The social audio and video content to users and provides major, independent, and unsigned artists Mayfield (200 7) notes the role that community plays in becoming a member of a social networking site like MySpace: People joining a social network usually create a profile and then build a network by connecting to friends and contacts in the network, or by inviting r eal world contacts and friends to join the social network. These communities retain the interest of their members by being useful to them and providing services that are entertaining or help them to expand their networks. (p. 14) Two of the most popular fe atures on both Facebook and MySpace are their photo sharing tools and ongoing news feed (or real and rejuvenates content, which creates a draw for users (Cassidy, 2006). The mechanics of Facebook and MySpace are si milar in that users present themselves through an online profile, which contains self descriptions and photos, and Aubrey, J., Chattopadhyay, S., & Rill, L., 2008, p. 3). Both Facebook and MySpace provi de users some control in terms of who may access their profiles, and both contain advertisements on the right side of each page. While Facebook allows users to determine what is made public and what remains private (such as individual photo albums posted t the SNS has sporadically opened up its site to third parties, thus jeopardizing user privacy until manually altered to custom privacy settings ( Papacharissi, 2009). Dwyer, Hiltz, and Passerini (2007) argue that trust and usag e goals may affect what information people are willing to share. Facebook users expressed greater trust in Facebook than

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22 MySpace users did in MySpace and were thus more willing to share information on the site (boyd & Ellison, 2007, p. 222). Similarly, peo information using e mail or on line instant messages, or while blogging, than when they communicate face to & Oppenheimer, 2009, p. 1414). Besides listing basic information about oneself, Facebook encourages i ts users to also publish contact information, details about personal interests and activities as well as information about educational background and work (Taraszow, Aristodemou, Shitta, Laouris & Arsoy, 2010). Facebook uses this information to place users into socially etc., which make it easier for users to find their existing friends and people who have similar interests in their area (King, 2009). In both Facebook and MySpace, there is a private message section organized like an e messages (Taraszow, Aristodemou, Shitta, Laouris & Arsoy, 2010). These private messages are like e mail in that only the person who received the message is allowed to view it (Taraszow et al.). And both Facebook and MySpace offer an instant messaging (IM) feature also known as chat so that real time conversations can take place (Taraszow et al.). One feature that is exclusive to postings as well as a wide variety of categories, from movies to music to brands. Many Facebook users that, when clicked, appears on the homepage of the users and the

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23 Although social networking sites often ular press as social media have branched out to users of all ages, the young still dominate the sector. Generation Y the 82 million Americans who were born between 1980 and 2000 has a unique relationship to brands that is part of a broader shift in social norms ushered in by digital communications (Mediashift, 2011). button, that badge helps define themselves among their peers (Mediashift, 2011). Despite similarities in profile offerings, when it comes to visual layout, Facebook and MySpace are extremely different. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, reported that when he was designing Facebo except for the selected profile photo. for users, this design leads to less content needing to be loaded on each page, which makes it run faster and less prone to phishing and spamming (King, 2009). homepage background can be customized according to prefer ence, either by entering in HTML code or choosing a theme from a wide variety of pre designed backgrounds. Mayfield (2007) states that (p. 14). MySpace has been called the Las Vegas of social networking software for its bright colors and flashiness, and loyal users argue that its off beat tackiness adds to the charm (King, 2009). King (2009) argues that younger teenagers begin in MySpace to

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24 experiment with self image through customization, but as they grow older, they migrate from MySpace to Facebook for social networking purposes. MyS pace, however, video, and other media related content (King, 2009). Socioeconomic D ivision O nline Research suggests that social networking sites are used to maintain existi ng offline relationships instead of meeting new people online (Ellison, Steinfeld, & Lampe, ial a geographically networking sites mirror, at least to some extent, the way in which peopl e group themselves offline. Whether early users of Facebook already knew each other before meeting on p.122). After Facebook became open to the public and grew to become a most fierce competitor to (Levinson, p. 122). With this in mind, new media experts are beginning to not ice trends specifically, affecting the ways in which wealth (or lack of wealth) is represented online. Preliminary research into the real life implications of Facebook and My Space reveals dramatic socioeconomic fragmentation (boyd, 2007, para. 1).

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25 In investigating why teens select either Facebook or MySpace, boyd (2009) suggests that, on the surface, one can reasonably conclude it to be a matter of individual choice, and she found a variety of responses, from personal preference to the features or functionality offered. Choosing one site over the other for these reasons, such as the colorful design layout options offered on MySpace, would be acceptable in issues of race, socio economic status, education, and other factors that usually make Choice, in other words, is not about features or functionality but about the social categories in which society exists and choosing sites online that reflect the user background 2009, para. 26). Both teens and adults use social categories and labels to identify people with values, tastes and social positions, and as teens choose between MySpace and Facebook, the social networking sites s erved as frames for those social categories (boyd, 2009). For example, one teen, in explaining his reason for choosing Facebook over MySpace, said the following in a 2007 interview: Craig (17, California): The higher castes of high school moved to Faceboo k. It was more cultured, and less cheesy. The lower class usually were content to stick to MySpace. Any high school student who has a Facebook will tell you that MySpace users are more likely to be barely educated and d than Starbucks, and Jazz is more Facebook is of a cooler caliber than MySpace. (boyd, 2009, para 29) A few outlets in the popular press have recently begun to notice this societal p erception among young social networkers. Both CNN and National Public Radio ran

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26 (or lack of wealth) in their decisions to represent themselves on either MySpace or Facebo ok (Hare, 2009; Sydell, 2009). According to Nielson data, MySpace users tend to be from middle class, blue collar neighborhoods and perhaps not college educated which a re represented by white or Asian married couples between the ages of 45 and 64 with children and high levels of education (Hare, para. 8). Marketing research firm uent demographics are 25% more likely to be found friending on Facebook, while the less affluent are 37% more Furthermore, almost 23% of Facebook users earn more than $ 100,000 a year, while 37% of MySpace members earn less than $50,000 annually ( Hare). boyd (2010) explored a division found between MySpace and Facebook among American teens during the 2006 07 school year. In the beginning of the year, students (boyd, 2010, p. 3). As Facebook gained momentum, some teens switched from MySpace to Facebook, others joined Facebook without having experienced MySpace, and others chose to become users of both (boyd, 2010). While MySpace was not losing traction at the ti me, as teens continued to frequent the site, some teens who had started out with MySpace profiles began to switch completely to Facebook (boyd, MySpace were from different back grounds and had different norms and values than affluent individuals were more likely to choose and move to Facebook. Specifically,

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27 frequently drawn to MySpace while more from less privileged backgrounds were more likely to set up profiles on MySpace while teens headed toward elite universities appeare d to be setting up on Facebook (boyd, 2010). Eszter Hargittai (2007) found that there is a significant relationship between the level of parental education of users and their choice of social networking sites. Students whose parents obtained a college deg ree are significantly more likely to use Facebook than those whose parents have some college education, but not a degree (Hargittai). On the other hand, students whose parents have less than a high school degree are considerably more likely to use MySpace than those with some college education. Essentially, Hargittai (2007) found a positive relationship between parental education level and the use of Facebook and a negative relationship between parental education level and the use of MySpace. Stepping back from analyzing patterns of established users, why are these social networking site users first choosing to visit either Facebook or MySpace? What is it about either social networking site that makes it more appealing than the other? What is appealing abou t social networking sites in general? Are there underlying socioeconomic factors encouraging users to gravitate toward one or the other? What are the primary motivations that lead users to spend so much time on social networking sites? With the uses and gr atifications framework these questions surrounding why users of social networking sites select either Facebook or MySpace can be examined.

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28 Uses and Gratifications Approach More than ever before, the act of using media means creating as well as receiving, with user control extending far beyond selecting ready made, mass produced content (Livingstone, 2008). The choices that users make in selecting a social networking site on which to interact fall under the umbrella of the uses and gratifications approach. This theory seeks to explain the uses of media and the satisfactions found in them in terms of the motives and self perceived needs of audience members. With the u ses and gratifications approach, researcher s can examine the how and why of media use and, s pecifically, focus on how media are used to satisfy cognitive and affective needs involving personal satisfaction and entertainment (Rubin, 2002; Stafford, Stafford, & Schkade, 2004). In the early days of communications research ers studied the gratificat ions that attracted and held audiences in addition to the kind of content that satisfied social and psychological needs (Cantril, 1942). Some of the first critics of the uses and gratifications approach argued that it relied heavily on self reports; was la cking in the social origin of audience needs brought to media; was not critical enough of potential dysfunction of certain types of audience satisfaction; and was too focused on diversity of audience instead of constraints of the text (Ruggiero, 2000; Katz 1987). In the 1950s and 1960s, researchers sought to identify and operationalize social and psychological variables that were thought to be the beginnings of patterns of media consumption of gratifications (Wimmer & Dominick, 1994). Prior to the 1970s, researchers focused on the effects of mass communication on readers. While past research of uses and gratifications focused on the cause and degree of motives for selecting media (and content), audiences were permitted to

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29 explain the meaning of their selec tive behavior (Blumler & Katz, 1974). Uses and gratifications researchers then began looking at audience motivations and the uses people made of the media for social and psychological needs (Katz, Blumler & Gurevitch, 1974; Rubin, 1994; Ruggiero, 2000). Ov er the next two decades, researchers began to reevaluate the notion of an active audience, and some scholars sought to explain the effects of mass communication by recognizing the potential for audience initiative and activity (Rubin, 1994; Ruggiero, 2000) With the rise of the Internet, and social networking sites in particular, this framework of media examination became more complex and interactive (unlike media use seen in older forms, such as television). This theory can be viewed as a psychological co mmunication perspective that examines how individuals use media and othe r forms of communication to satisfy their wants and needs (Rubin, 2002). The uses and gratifications framework also shifted from looking at users as passive audiences to viewing them as active audiences, and research visibly shifted from how the media affect users to what users do with the media (Rubin, 1994). The active and goal oriented; 2) motiva tions help explain media use; 3) people form intentions and expectations for media use; and 4) people choose a medium based on framework, media use can be defined by a needs and motives to communicate, the psychological and social environment, the mass media, functional alternatives to media use, communication behavior, and the ).

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30 While mass communication models traditionally create a linear, sender to receiver approach in disseminating information, the Internet demands a reshaping of these conventional models to make room for new forms of communication (Chung & Nah, 2009). Pass online in ways that are both interactive and individually catered. Chung and Nah state that the Internet can now be considered a mass medium, and the public no longer relies strictl y on older information sources (print newspaper, television news programs) to deliver the daily news. Some researchers have argued that new media technology has blurred the lines between mass and interpersonal media, particularly social networking sites su ch as Facebook (Westerman, 2008). Stafford and Gonier (2004) have identified searching, the acquiring of information, the ability to engage in interpersonal communicatio n, and socialization. and forth communication valuable with interactive features, such as e mail links and chat & Nah, 2 009, p. 860). (Rheingold, 1994) formed online argue that these forums isolate people from their offline lives. Contentions that the Internet fragments community, still un der scrutiny in empirical research, fall in line with similar accusations against users of television and a loss of civic engagement. Putnam (2000) concluded that news and entertainment are becoming more and more individualized, no longer requiring users t

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31 us to consume this hand tailored entertainment in priv However, more recent research has proven that online interactions, instead of removing is ongoing research suggests that people are not only using online interaction to maintain relationships with family and close friends expense of television, and that this exchange is a good one from the perspective of attendance, and informal social inter & Dunsmore, 2005, p. 772). Gratifications found in media use are seen as a motivating factor for seeking information (Graber, 1984), and many researchers have determined that reasons for using the Internet include informa tion, entertainment, and passing time (Papacharissi & Rubin, 2000; Ferguson & Perse, 2000). Papacharissi and Rubin determined information seeking and entertainment as primary motivations for using the Internet, in addition to other motivations which inclu ded convenience, passing time, and interpersonal utility. Flaherty, Pearce and Rubin (1998) explored whether Internet and face to face communication channels are functional alternatives for each other and found correlations between the motivations for face to face communication and the motivations for Internet in information, entertainment, and passing time. These researchers also outlined the motives of interpersonal utility, including inclusion,

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32 affection, control, relaxation, escape and pleasure, and det ermined that people used computers to gratify these interpersonal needs. Papacharissi and Rubin (2000) relied on interpersonal motives to examine computer mediated communication and determined that affection, inclusion, and control were seen as more interp ersonally oriented needs. Flaherty et al. (1998) determined that needs traditionally fulfilled by media (social interaction, passing time, habit, information seeking, entertainment seeking) are fulfilled by new media, such as social networking. Motivation s for Social Networking Social networking sites have revolutionized the act of online communication, providing diverse features that support a large variety of interests and practices (boyd and Ellison, 2007). Industry and academic researchers have kept pa ce with examining the trends of social media, such as how people create personal profiles, network with familiar and new contacts and participate in various forms of online community (boyd and Ellison; Livingstone, 2008). Social networking sites play host to millions of users who socialize with others, including and sometimes supplanting traditional socialization agents, such as family, school, peer groups, and environment (Urista, Dong & Day, 2009). These SNS allow individuals to play an active role in th e socialization process and in constructing their own identity (Urista et al.). Past research has provided a wide range of motivations behind the use of social expression community, intimacy, voyeurism, exhibitionism and previously mentioned identity ( Beaudoin, 2008; Booth, 2008; boyd & Ellison, 2007; Chen, 2010; Cho, de Zuniga, Rojas & Shah, 2003; Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007; Livingstone, 2008; Raacke & Bonds Raac ke, 2008; Rubin, 2009; Urista, Dong, & Day, 2009; Westerman,

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33 2008). contexts, from work r elated, romantic initiation, shared interests or basic connection in a group, such as college ( Ellison et al., p. 1143). One of the most initially popular motivations for SNS found among researchers is social capital, defined as the resources accumulated through the relationships among people (Ellison et al.; Coleman, 1988). The motivation of social capital refers to the ability to draw on resources from other members of a network to which the person belongs, such as useful information, personal relationsh ips, or the capacity to organize groups (Paxton, 1999). Researchers have continued to emphasize the importance of Internet t al., p. 1146). Social networking sites make it easier to connect with others by integrating digital communication and publishing, which allows users to create a digital identity and gives them access to tools for communication across time and space (Dwye r, Hiltz, & network), profiles, blogs, bulletins, private messaging, and phot o albums (Urista, Dong & Day, 2009) The main characteristic of a social networking site that allows detailed profiles (like MySpace and Facebook) is a visible profile that displays a user selected list of friends and detailed personal disclosure of person al information (boyd and Ellison, 2007). Upon signing up for a SNS, users are asked to provide information such as name, age, birth

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34 date, current location, hometown, political affiliation, religious interests, contact a few sentences. Most SNS encourage the user to provide a profile photo that will All connections to other members are displayed in a list of friends, contacts or fans and are viewable to all connected, pre approved users. is a crucial component of social networking sites (boyd and Ellison, 2007). Perhaps one primary motivation behind social networking sites is connecting online, specifically, interaction with others and maintaining current relationships ( Dwyer, Hiltz, & Passerini 2007). Users predominately connect with people they already know in real life, but there are also connections with completely new people (Tarazow, Aristodemou, Shitta, Laouris & Arsoy, 2010). Favored uses of SNS include looking up updating current information (such as location and favorite activities); sharing information, photos, video and music; receiving updates on friends and events; sending al., 2010); boyd and Ellison, 2007; D wyer et al., 2007). However, other researchers have since argued that users are not using SNS to promote an idealized virtual identity. real personality, which may help e (Back et al 2010, p. 374). The application of the uses and gratifications approach to these motivations for using social networking sites will directly apply to the quantitative examination of socioeconomic status of users of Facebook and MySpace in this study. Based upon the

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35 literature review above and the conceptualization of SNS motivations and socioeconomic status for users of Facebook and/or MySpace, the following research questions and hypotheses were developed: RQ1: Doe s socioeconomic status indicate user preference for either social networking site, Facebook and/or MySpace? H1a: Users of the social networking site Facebook will have a higher average (2010) socioeconomic status than users of the social networking site M ySpace. H1b: Users of the social networking site MySpace will have a lower average (2010) socioeconomic status than users of the social networking site Facebook. RQ2: What are the predominant motivations for use of social networking sites such as Facebo ok and MySpace? Specifically, the first research question will examine whether socioeconomic status serves as a dividing factor for audiences of these two social networking sites. Other researchers have mapped the relationship between uses and gratificati ons and socioeconomic status. Cho, Gil de Zuniga, Rojas, and Shah (2003) found notable differences in uses and gratifications across subgroups. For example, younger individuals (mean age: 27) with a high SES were most likely to use the Internet to satisfy their motivations strategically (with computer mediated interaction, surveillance, and consumption) and were more efficient at fulfilling their needs in this way. However, younger individuals (mean age: 29) with a low SES were more likely to employ multipl e Internet behaviors to meet their needs and were still learning and experimenting with ways in which to satisfy basic needs (Cho et al.). While controlling the variables of income, education, race and age, Chen (2010) found that active Twitter use was th the strongest predictor of a gratification of a need psychological and social needs, the uses and gratifications model is particularly suited

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36 for explaining the interpersonal aspect of social media in social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace (Rubin, 2009). For the purpose of this study and the first research question, individual income will be conceptually defined as the money or other gain received in a give n period (2010) by an individual for labor, services, or allotted spending. S ocioeconomic status will be hierarchical social structure based on income, occupation, and ed ucation. T he socioeconomic indicators of income, occupation, and education will be used to provide further support for the initial findings that users of Facebook and MySpace are choosing their social networking site based on socioeconomic status. The seco nd research question W hat are the predominant motivations for use of will examine which motivations users most associate with in the specific realm of SNS. Of the five previously identified motivations fo r use of the Internet, t hree dimensions of these motivations play a fundamental role in this study: entertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility ( Papacharissi & Rubin 2000). The motivations of entertainment and information gathering have repeatedly been applied to traditional media use, and then later to Internet use. Both motivations have proven as mainstays in the uses and gratifications approach ( Papacharissi & Rubin, 2000). Interpersonal utility, which incorporates such articipate in and belong to a group, to express oneself freely, to give in newer media, such as the Internet, and, later, in social networking sites (Kindred & Mohammed, 2005, para. 10). When combined, these three motivations create a uses

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37 and gratifications formula that is specific to the social networking site Facebook, as will be established in this study. For the purpose of this study, entertainment will be defined a s a motivation that providing users with an activity of amusement and/or leisure. This motivation includes many forms of activity, such as escapism, browsing social networki ng sites for fun, and Information gathering will be defined as a motivation that involves the following: T his includes many forms of activity on social networking sites, such as seeking information about events or activities, products or services, or about other users or And, finally, interpersonal utility will be defined as a motivation that invol ves the 2000). This motivation include activities like actively seeking out a community of friends, expression, and trying to under stand other users or The present study will incorporate data on socioeconomic status and motivations for use of social networking sites collected from col lege age students and examine how time is spent on social media sites. This research aims to determine the degree to motivations: entertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility. Based on the uses and gratifications framewor k, with this study, new media scholars should have

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38 a better understanding of the predominant motivations behind the use of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.

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39 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Survey research is defined as a procedure used to collect i nformation about conditions, events, opinions, people, and organizations from a sample in order to describe a population (Rubin, Rubin, Haridakis & Piele, 2010). This type of research, in which a researcher finds a sample of respondents and administers a u niform Survey research is the best method available to social researchers when individual people are the units of analysis, as seen in this study, and when the larger popul ation is too large to observe directly. Strengths of survey research include the ability to describe characteristics of a large population, make large samples feasible, and measure uniformly; however, weaknesses include the standardization of questionnaire items, inflexibility and artificiality (Babbie, 2010). Selecting a S ample For this study, survey based research was selected to extract information on socioeconomic status and primary motivations for social networking site use because the larger populati on (all users of Facebook and MySpace) is too large to observe directly. This type of research was also selected for the ability to measure uniformly. The data for this study were collected from a self administered online survey that was designed, first, t o determine motivations for use of and user preference for either MySpace or Facebook, and second, to outline the income level, occupation, and education of participants in an effort to determine overall socioeconomic status. This study required that a use r currently have or previously had an account with either Facebook or MySpace. The sample (N=196) was selected from a survey

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40 distributed via e mail in introductory classes at Santa Fe College in the s pring of 2011 starting on January 5, 2011, and running until February 13, 2011. Santa Fe College was selected over the University of Florida in an effort to obtain a wider ranging pool of socioeconomic data. The University of Florida, which is universities, is a major, public, land grant, research institution located in Gainesville, Florida, with an enrollment of roughly 50,000 students. Santa Fe College formerly a community college is a smaller Florida college with an enrollment of about 17,500 students that has many techno logy and applied sciences programs. Many students first obtain two year degrees at Santa Fe and then apply to The University of Florida for a four year degree. The sample (N=196) comes from the 15 Santa Fe courses that took part with approximately 25 stude nts per class. Eleven responses were not included due to incomplete sur veys. This survey had a 52.2% response rate out of those contacted. Survey participants were asked to answer a series of questions regarding, first, their use of/user preference for MyS pace and Facebook, second, their (2010) socioeconomic status, and, third, their demographics (age, gender, education level, etc.). Also, according to T study received Insti tutional Review Board approval. In following with Institutional Review Board (IRB) guidelines, an alternate extra credit assignment was made available for those students who chose not to participate in the study. A total of 40 Santa Fe professors were contacted via e mail, and 10 instructo rs (25% ) agreed to take part in the data collection for a total of 15 classes. Eight out of the 10 instructors arranged for students to receive a small amount of extra

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41 credit (no more than 2% of the final grade) in exchange for completing the questionnaire I ntroductory courses in the associate of arts degree programs and courses in the technical certificate programs were selected to allow for a wide cross section of students throughout the college. The participating classes were : General Psychology (PSY20 12) ; f our sections of State and Local Government (POS2112); f our sections of U.S. History to 1877 (AMH2010); Molecular Biology ( PCB3134C) ; College Composition (ENC 1101) ; t wo sections of Introductory Sociology (SYG 2000); Reading (REA2205); and Building Co nstruction Materials (BCN 1210). A wide range of more technical classes were recruited for this survey, such as a nursing foundation course, a clinical laboratory course, a basic orientation to dentistry course, an automotive technology course, and an int roductory welding course. However, Building Construction Materials was the only course that took part in this study and without the offer of extra credit. To increase the response rate, customized e mail s were sent to each instructor who agreed to take par t in the research and followed with periodic reminders. After excluding responses that were less than half completed, a total of 196 cases (89.9% ) were analyzed. After data collection was complete, the survey data was entered into SPSS, a statistical progr am specifically designed for analysis of social science data. For College of Journalism and Commu eb based Qualtrics Research Suite was used Qualtrics is a comprehensive W eb b ased survey system that can be used to design and conduct surveys/polls online and offline.

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42 Survey D esign C hallenges One challenge with this particular sample was determining individual income among younger Santa Fe students, for whom family might still c ontribute substantially A few questions were implemented in order to isolate their income, such as whether participant is receiving federal or state grant money to attend sch ool. Another challenge with designing the survey for this study was the requirement of social networking site use. Because the focus of this study is based around the use of social networking, respondents who do not participate on either Facebook or MySpa ce were not able to contribute data on user preference, a question that ended up only applying to one participant. Those who have not used social networking (n=1) were asked to fill out the demographic portion of the survey for further analysis. If a respo ndent indicated that they do not currently use MySpace, they were asked whether they previously had a MySpace account. In addition to examining motivations for using social networking sites, this study aimed to simultaneously determine whether the socioec onomic status indicators of income, occupation, and education level played a role in respondents choosing either determined that t here was not a proper comparison for Facebook v s. MySpace users (185 on FB, only 13 on MS) and an examination of the socioeconomics behind choosing one or the other SNS. Therefore, any socioeconomic findings would not be valid in terms of a comparison. predominant motivations for use

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43 networking site Facebook. In the results portion of this study, motivations for using Facebook specifically, entertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility Variable Construction: Entertainment, Info Gathering, Interpersonal Utility As outlined above and in the literature review, question e xamines which motivations users most associate with while using SNS. The three primary motivations for use of Facebook (only) entertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility will prove to be significant in the results section below. In For the pu rpose of this study, entertainment was operationally defined by using the will be statistically explained in the results section of this study: I use Facebook to put of Facebook; I use Facebook out of habit; Facebook helps me escape from stress; and, I For the purpose of this st udy, information gathering was operationally defined by ok them up on Facebook; I use Facebook to keep in contact with people; I use Facebook to find out about parties or other events. For the purpose of this study, interpersonal utility was operationally defined by using the following responses that were dete

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44 me craft my identity; Facebook allows others to understand who I am; I use Facebook to understand certain people better; I l interested in seeing how many friends I have on Facebook; I feel like part of a community on Facebook; I make friends with people through Facebook. Measurement for these variables will be discussed later

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45 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Profile of R espondents Out of 185 respondents who answered that they currently use Facebook, the m ajority was female (61.3% ) between 15 20 years of age (48.6% ). The typical Facebook user in this study (n = 185) experienced high enjoy ment (mean: 5.76) when 7 point scale. Most reported an occ upation of student (79.7% ) and self identified t hemselves as white (63.4% ). Facebook users did not usually have a MySpace page in addi tion to their Fac ebook account (n = 2). Most Facebook users (72 .6% ) did not hold a job for more than six months in 2010, but more than half (55.2% ) held a part time j ob. More than half (56.1% ) received federal or state grant money to attend school in 2010 and made less tha n $10,000 (53.3 % ). Twenty four and one half percent of Facebook users made between $10,000 and $20,000 in 2010 and more than half of all Facebook users (51.4 % ) reported that others contributed to their overall income last year. More than half of responden ts (63.8 % ) reported visiting social networking sites on a daily basis, and nearly all (95.4 % ) indicated that they had visited a social networking site in the previous week. In response to a question asking how much time per day respondents spend on social networking sites, the responses were as followed: 1.5% spent 5 hours or more; 5.1 % spent 3 5 hours; 24.5 % spent 2 3 hours; and 68.9 % spent 1 hour or less. Most respondents indicated a high level of enjoyment (mean: 5.66) of social networking sites on a 0 7 point scale. % reported Facebook; 4.1 % reported Twitter; 1.5% reported

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46 MySpace; and 0.5% reported Tumblr. O ut of the 196 respondents, 94.4% reported current ly using Facebook, while only 6.6 % reported currently using MySpace. Of the 185 respondents who said they currently have a Facebook page but did not currently have a MySpace page, 83. 1% reported previously having a MySpace account. Only two respondents had both a Facebook and a MySpace account. Respondents were asked a series of questions that outline specific reasons why true at all and 5 is definitely true, please outl ine which of the following are true about halfway true for me =3; Mostly true for me = 4; Definitely true for me = 5] (Table 4 1, 4 2, 4 3) Measurements Each of the thre e variables of the three main dimensions of Facebook motivations entertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility plays a significant role in the statistical findings of this study. When categories such as seen in this research are used to form a scale, they should have internal consistency, or measure the same and be correlated with one another (Bland & Altman, 1997). A useful coefficient for Altman). In orde r to demonstrate how participants used Facebook, three variables of the three main dimensions of social media motivations were determined: entertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility. A factor analysis is a statistical approach used to analyze correlating relationships among a number of variables and determine their common underlying dimensions, or

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47 alphas, as seen in the following measurements: The dime nsion of entertainment (M=17.20, s.d.=5.59) defined as a motivation users with an activity of amusement and/or leisure had an alpha of 0.83. (Table 4 4) The dimension of information gathering (M=14.07, s.d.=5.88) defined as a motivation that involves users seeking feedback and/or details about other people, places, events, or things had an alpha of 0.62. The alpha of 0.62 for information gathering is lower than ideal (generally expected to reach 0.70 or higher); however, when combined, all three variables loaded very highly together and are internally consistent together as will be explained below. (Table 4 5) The dimension of interpersonal utility (M=10.06, s.d.=2.84) defined as a motivation that involves users seeking of affection, inclusion and/or control had an alpha of 0.86. (Table 4 6) Bivariate correlations, which measure the relationship between two variables, were used to measure the strength of the relatio nship among these dimensions. These bivariate correlations were conducted for each of the three variables, and all were significant at p < .01 and all measured at least r = 0.32 or higher. Independent Variable Measurement A number of variables were used i n testing relationships of the three main dimensions of Facebook motivations entertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility spent online, time spent on social networking s ites, enjoyment of Facebook, and level of student (full or part time). Each will be outlined below with the correlating survey

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48 measured. In order to determine the level of level of survey respondents, the following questions were ask (or guar guard degree as a level of education. (Tables 4 7, 4 8) In order to categorize the users into testable groups, the respondent s who degr following options were provided as potential answers: less than $10,000 (53.3 % ); $10,000 $20,000 (24.5 % ); $20,000 $30,000 (10.4 % ); $40,000 $50,000 (2.8 % ); $50,000 $60,000 (.5 % ); $60,000 $70,000 (.5 % ); $70,000 $80,000 (.5 % ); and $90,000 $100,000 (.5 % ). In order to break down the responses into usable categories (after responses repo rted lower incomes), the data were collapsed into the following four groups: less than $10,000; $10,000 $20,000; $20,000 $40,000; and $40,000 and above.

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49 In order to gauge how often users spent time online in general, survey 3 hours; 3 5 hours; 5 % ) and % % ) w In order to gauge how often users spent time on social networking sites, survey respondents (who were self indicated users of Facebook) were asked the following you spend on social networking sites like 3 hours; 3 5 hours; 5 order to categorize the users into testab % % % % % ) were grouped together and de In order to gauge how much respondents who use Facebook enjoy using the the least amount and 7 being the highest amount), how much do you A scale of 0 to 7 was provided to record potential responses. In order to categorize the users into testable groups, the respondents who answered 0 (1.1 % ), 1 (3.3 %), 2 (6% ), and 3 (13.7 %

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50 respondents who answered 4 (10.9 % ), 5 (23 % ), 6 (22.4 % ), and 7 (14.8 % ) were In order to determine whether respondents were full time students or part time students, the following question student (full time) (79.7 % ); administrative (0.5 % ); engineer/technology (0.9 % ); instructor/education (1.9 % ); legal profe ssion; management/business (1.4 % ); medical (3.8 % ); retired (0.5 % ); sales/marketing (1.9 % ); service industry (3.3 %); trade/labor (2.8% ); unemployed (1.9 % ); other: please specify. In order to categorize the users into testable groups, the respondents who an category, while those who answered one of the other 13 choices were placed in another. Data A nalysis In this study, the second research question W hat are the predominant motivations for use of social netwo rking sit e examines with which motivations users most associate while using Facebook. The three dimensions of motivations defined under the theoretical umbrella of the uses and gratifications approach entertainment, information g athering, and interpersonal utility play a fundamental role in results found in this study. In order to test this research question, independent sample T tests, which are used to compare the mean scores of two groups within a given variable, were conduct ed on each of the three dimensions. Time Spent O nline An independent sample T test was conducted on each of the three dimensions: entertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility. In a comparison of means

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51 (high to low) of time spent online, the following was found: respondents who spent more time online also spend more time information gathering ( p < .01); and respondents who spent more time online also spent more time seeking entertainment ( p < .01). However, there was no significant findin g for respondents who spent more time online and time spent seeking interpersonal utility. (Table 4 9) Time S pent on Facebook An independent sample T test was conducted on each of the three dimensions: entertainment, information gathering, and interpersona l utility. Differences between high on Facebook in all three dimensions. The following was concluded: respondents who spent more time on Facebook also spent more time inform ation gathering ( p < .001); respondents who spent more time on Facebook also spent more time seeking entertainment ( p < .001); and respondents who spent more time on Facebook also spent more time seeking interpersonal utility ( p < .001). (Table 4 10) Enjoy ment of Facebook An independent sample T test was conducted on each of the three dimensions: entertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility. Differences were found in three components. The following was concluded: respondents who expressed a higher enjoyment of Facebook spend more time gathering information ( p < .001); respondents who expressed a higher enjoyment of Facebook spend more time seeking entertainment ( p < 001); and respondents who expressed a higher enjoyment of Facebook spend more time seeking interpersonal utility ( p < .001). (Table 4 11)

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52 Full ducation An independent sample T test was conducted on each of the three dimensions: ent ertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility. The comparison of means showed no difference for any dimension in why people use Facebook if they are either a full time student or not a full time student. Additionally, the comparison of means Three Analyses of Variance (ANOVA) tests were conducted in order to gauge the influence of these predictors on motivations for using Facebook: mothe time student, time (entertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility) were put into AN OVAs to determine the degree of difference or similarity among the groups of data. p < .05): entertainment on Facebook. This inverse relationship is particularly interesting, as the variable entertainment, time spent on social networking sites had a role ( p < .01): as respondents s pent more time on social networking sites, more time was spent seeking entertainment. Enjoyment of Facebook had a role ( p < .01): As respondents enjoyed Facebook more, more time was spent seeking entertainment. (Table 4 12) A Scheffe Post Hoc Test was also conducted on the variable income and no significant differences were found among groups.

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53 gath ering ( p p < .05): as the Again, this inverse relationship is particularly interesting. Perhaps educated fathers ind icated in this population spend more time with their children (ie: respondents), which allows them less time to gather information a motivation that involves feedback and/or details about other people, places, events, or things. In additio n for this variable high enjoyment meant more time spent information gathering ( p < .001). (Table 4 13) A Scheffe Post Hoc Test was also conducted on the variable income and no significant differences were found among groups. For the dependent variable int erpersonal utility, enjoyment of Facebook had a role ( p < .001): as the respondent enjoyed Facebook more, more time was spent seeking interpersonal utility. Whether or not the respondent was a full time student played a role with marginal significance ( p = .069): if the respondent was a student, than he or she spent more time seeking interpersonal utility. Income had a role with marginal significance ( p = .064): the middle bracket for income ($10,000 $20,000) spent more time seeking interpersonal utility. ( Table 4 14) A Scheffe Post Hoc Test was also conducted on the variable income and no significant differences were found among groups.

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54 Table 4 1. (Entertainment) Facebook survey questions and statistics Motivation Survey question Mean Std. Dev. Entertainm ent I use Facebook to put off doing other things. 2.70 1.33 Entertainment 3.70 1.12 Entertainment 2.21 1.23 Entertainment I use Facebook out of habit. 3.04 1.40 Entertainment F acebook helps me escape from stress. 2.02 1.27 Entertainment what others are up to. 3.55 1.17 Table 4 2. (Information gathering) Facebook survey questions and statistics Motivation Survey question Mean Std. Dev Information gathering up on Facebook. 3.08 1.40 Information gathering I use Facebook to keep in contact with people. 4.30 .95 Information gathering I use Facebook to find out about parties or other events. 2.68 1.37 Table 4 3. (Interpersonal utility) Facebook survey questions and statistics Motivation Survey question Mean Std. Dev. Interpersonal utility Facebook lets me craft my identity. 1.86 1.06 Interpersonal utility Facebook allows other people to u nderstand who I am 2.11 1.13 Interpersonal utility I use Facebook to understand certain people better. 2.30 1.16 Interpersonal utility I like to see how other people react to my profile. 2.25 1.27 Interpersonal utility friends I have on Facebook. 1.70 1.02 Interpersonal utility I feel like part of a community on Facebook. 1.96 1.43 Interpersonal utility I make friends with people through Facebook. 1.73 1.13

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55 Table 4 4. Six Survey question/motivation Factor loading I use Facebook to put off doing other things .74 Facebook. .73 cebook .81 I use Facebook out of habit. .77 Facebook helps me escape from stress. .70 about what others are up to. .67 = 0.83 Table 4 5. Three an = 0.62 Table 4 6. 7 Survey question/motivation Factor loading Facebook lets me craft my identity .80 Facebook allows others to understand who I am. .81 I use Facebook to understand certain people better. .74 I like to see how other people react to my profile. .79 friend s I have on Facebook. .67 I feel like part of a community on Facebook. .68 I make friends with people through Facebook. .66 = 0.86 Survey question/motivation Factor loading look them up on Facebook. .74 I use Facebook to keep in contact with people. .73 I use Facebo ok to find out about parties or other events. .74

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56 Table 4 Level of education Percent Less than high schoo l 3.1 Some high school 4.1 High school diploma 29.5 GED 4.1 25.9 Graduate degree 15.5 Technical degree 4.7 6.2 0.5 Table 4 Le vel of education Percent Less than high school 5.7 Some high school 4.2 High school diploma 31.3 GED 3.6 21.4 Graduate degree 12.5 Technical degree 6.8 12 2.6 Table 4 9 Time spent online and three dimensions of social media High Low Mean diff. t Info gathering 15.81 (n=59) (SD) 6.42 13.22 (n=120) (SD) 5.42 2.59 2.83** Entertainment 19.19 (n=61) (SD) 5.82 16.19 (n=120) (SD) 5.21 3.00 3.52** Interpersonal Utility 10.52 (n=61) (SD) 2.72 9.83 (n=121) (SD) 2.88 .698 1.57 ** p < .01

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57 Table 4 10 Time spent on Facebook and three dimensions of social media High Low Mean diff. t Info gathering 17.17 (n=56) (SD) 6.23 12.66 (n=123) (SD) 5.15 4.52 5.09** Entertainment 21.21 (n=57) (SD) 4.78 15.36 (n=124) (SD) 4.95 5.85 7.46** Interpersonal Utility 11.21 (n=58) (SD) 2.12 9.52 (n=124) (SD) 2.98 1.68 4.36** ** p < .01 Table 4 11 Enjoyment of Facebook and three dimensions of social media High Low Mean diff. t Info gathering 15.92 (n=108) (SD) 6.06 10.84 (n=62) (SD) 3.88 5.08 6.66** Entertainment 19.07 (n=108) (SD) 5.12 13.61 (n=64) (SD) 4.57 5.46 7.05** Interpersonal Utility 10.90 (n=109) (SD) 2.41 8.70 (n=64) (SD) 3.12 2.12 4.85** p < .001

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58 Table 4 12 ANOVA: Predictors of ent ertainment dimension on Facebook. Source M (High/Low) df MS F Sig. education H: 16.46 L: 16.49 1 .031 .002 .968 education H: 15.63 L: 17.31 1 79.35 4.19 .043* Income H: 15.87 M: 17.39 L: 16.15 2 23.24 1.13 .296 Student H: 17.12 L: 1 5.82 1 32.14 1.70 .195 Time spent online H: 16.38 L: 16.56 1 .563 .030 .863 Time spent on SNS H: 18.14 L: 14.80 1 165.87 8.77 .004** Enjoy Facebook H: 18.90 L: 14.05 1 666.16 35.20 .000** Error 127 18.92 Corrected total 135 p < .05 ** p < .01 Table 4 1 3 ANOVA: Predictors of information gathering dimension on Facebook. Source M df MS F Sig. education H: 14.91 L: 12.73 1 138.59 4.93 .028* education H: 12.61 L: 15.03 1 162.31 5.77 .018* Income H: 14.06 M: 14.46 L: 12.94 2 28.68 1.02 .364 Student H: 14.14 L: 13.50 1 7.61 .270 .604 Time spent online H: 14.22 L: 13.42 1 10.50 .373 .542 Time spent on SNS H: 14.85 L: 12.79 1 62.65 2.23 .138 Enjoy Facebook H: 16.17 L: 11.47 1 621.13 22.07 .000** Error 125 28.14 Correc ted total 133 *p < .05 **p < .001

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59 Table 4 14 ANOVA: Predictors of interpersonal utility dimension on Facebook. Source M df MS F Sig. education H: 9.61 L: 9.60 1 .005 .001 .979 education H: 9.44 L: 9.78 1 3.29 .455 .501 Income total H: 9.03 M: 10.46 L: 9.32 2 20.34 2.81 .064 Student H: 10.17 L: 9.04 1 24.24 3.35 .069 Time spent online H: 9.92 L: 9.29 1 6.58 .910 .342 Time spent on SNS H: 9.88 L: 9.34 1 4.35 .601 .440 Enjoy Facebook H: 10.74 L: 8.47 1 146.68 20.29 .000** Er ror 128 7.23 Corrected total 136 ** p < .001

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60 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Research Question 1 Does Socioeconomic Status Indicate User Preference for Either Social Networking Site, Facebook and/or MySpace? The first research question was not statisticall y examined in this study due to a lack of enough MySpace users for a comparison of socioeconomic status. The basis of this examination depended on having a closer to equal number of MySpace users to Facebook users in order to determine whether socioeconomi c status affected whether 183 respondents who were on Facebook, but only 13 MySpace users. Without a proper comparison, any socioeconomic indicators are not known, and q uantitative support for previous, qualitative reports of high income, well educated users favoring Facebook and low income, less educated users favoring MySpace remains lacking. Research Question 2 What a re the Predominant Motivations for U se of S ocial N etworking S ites S uch as Facebook and MySpace? networking sites like Facebook. The findings from this research directly correlate with motivations for social networking sites foun d by many other researchers over the last decade, including a uses and gratifications emphasis on entertainment, information ela (2009) who found four primary needs for participating in groups within Facebook: entertainment, information, self status seeking, and socializing. Similarly, Ancu & Cozma (2009) found that the most SNS user gratification came from information seeking, entertainment, and social interaction.

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61 While there is a wealth of past studies examining motivations behind Internet use, there is a dearth of information investigating modern primary motivations under current trends specifically, f the social media platform. Papacharissi and Rubin (2000) first brought the motivation of interpersonal utility into play when they examined social presence and Internet use. However, the present study goes one step b eyond past research that determined en tertainment, information and interpersonal utility as motivations for the Internet and identifies interpersonal utility as a third predominant motivation exclusively for SNS use In this study, respondents were asked a series of questions that outlined sp ecific reasons why they use Facebook. From these 17 questions, three dimensions of motivations were formed entertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility. The relationship among these three dimensions for use of Facebook proved to be str ong and played a significant role in the findings of this research. Essentially, this study demonstrates quantitative support that all three dimensions are primary motivations for users of the social networking site Facebook. Entertainment The motivation of entertainment, which includes such motives as passing the time and finding activities of amusement, has long fallen under the traditional uses and gratifications approach with traditional media, such as television (Chung & Nah, 2009). As the use of the Internet has become more widespread, the goal of entertainment fell in line as a primary motivation time after time in media research. Like past findings, this study found that users who spend more time online spend more time seeking entertainment. As soci al networking sites become a major hub of online activity, the motivation of entertainment continues to dominate in terms of reasoning behind site

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62 visitation. Contributing to this research on social networking, this study also found that users who spend mo re time on Facebook spend more time seeking entertainment. Taking it one step further, respondents who expressed a higher enjoyment of Facebook reported spending more time seeking entertainment. This falls in line with previous ttraction to SNS walls, profiles, blogs, bulletins, private messaging, and photo albums (Urista, Dong & Day, 2009). It is not surprising, then, that users seek entertainment on Facebook, which provides these tools and more with which users can occupy their time on the site. Information S eeking The second primary motivation, information seeking, feedback and/or details about other people, places, events, or things, has long been a traditional goal under uses and gratifications of traditional media use, such as newspapers or television (Chung & Nah, 2009). Over the past two decades, many researchers have determined that reasons for using the Internet include information seeking. Similar to past findings, this research revealed th at users who spent more time online spend more time seeking information. However, moving past the well researched examination of motivations for Internet use, this study also found that respondents who spent more time on Facebook also spent more time infor mation gathering. Similar to the findings behind the motivation of entertainment, those currently using Facebook who expressed a higher enjoyment of the social networking site also reported spending more time gathering information. This finding falls in li ne with previous research indicating a wealth of information provided by users on Facebook, such as personal interests, educational background, current employers, and upcoming events ( King, 2009; Taraszow, Aristodemou, Shitta, Laouris & Arsoy, 2010). Furth er, respondents in this

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63 study indicated (on a 0 5 scale) that they were likely to use Facebook to keep in contact with people (m=4.30), look up interesting people (m=3.08), and find out about parties or other events (m=2.68). These results suggest that Fac ebook serves as a hub of information about other users and events, thus fulfilling the motivation of information gathering for the respondents in this study. This study, and past research, has provided direct results that support traditional motivations fo r Internet use found under the uses and gratification approach that users who spend more time online spend more time gathering information and spend more time seeking entertainment. However, the fascinating third motivation interpersonal utility allo ws for an examination of more socially focused needs that are specific to social networking sites ( Papacharissi & Rubin, 2000). Interpersonal U tility affection, inclusi on and/or control, is particularly interesting when examining goals behind the use of social networking sites. The present study found that respondents who spent more time on Facebook also spent more time seeking interpersonal utility, which includes activ ities and information that fulfill their social networking needs, such expression, or further, and similar to the more traditional motivations of entertainment and information seeking, respondents who use Facebook and expressed a higher enjoyment of the social networking site spent more time seeking interpersonal utility. Notably, this study found no evidence that those respondents who spent more

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64 suggests that interpersonal utili ty goes beyond motivations for Internet use and indicates a motivation exclusive to social networking sites, in this case, Facebook. Essentially, individuals are fulfilling a motivation particular to their social networking site that includes such desires as the need to belong to a group, to express oneself freely, to give input, and to find out what others say. SNS allow individuals to play an active part craft my ide highest loading factors for the variable of interpersonal utility. These findings suggest that SNS is an area of personal expression that is not available in other Internet forums. Furthe r, this study equates time spent on Facebook with time spent seeking information, entertainment, and interpersonal utility, suggesting that these motivations are part of the draw that attracts users to signing onto the site so frequently. The findings indi cate not only how users are spending their time on Facebook, but why. It is more, then that user spent more time seeking these three dimensions. These findings sugges t that social networking sites in this case, Facebook are unique from other Internet locations in that they are equipped to provide all three motivations for users. With 72 % of 18 to 29 year olds (who are online) using social networking and the rep orted use across all demographics skyrocketing each year, it is imperative that research such as this study exists (Pew Internet, 2010a). This study not only confirms two traditional uses and gratifications motivations (entertainment and information gather ing), but it incorporates a third, more modern motivation (interpersonal utility) that

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65 proved to play an equally important role in why social networking users frequent the site Facebook. Facebook, in particular, is leaving other SNS behind in terms of leve l of use. As previously mentioned, self identified social networking users reported spending nearly 1 out of every 8 minutes online on Facebook (comScore, 2011). This level of use demands careful and prolonged attention to the motivations and reasoning beh ind In addition to the primary findings about these three motivational dimensions, this time seeking both enter level increases, users spend more time gathering information. Perhaps educated fathers indicated in this population spend more time with their children (ie: respondents), which allows them less time to seek entertainment. This finding suggests that fathers have a larger role in fulfilling the motivational needs of their children in this population. These findings could also suggest an active seeking of information about the absent parent by the children or, perhaps, indicate a lack of contact between the child and absent parent. education level was predominantly a high school diploma (29.5 % (25. 9 % ), or a graduate degree (15.5 % predominately a high school diploma (31.3 % % ), or a graduate degree (12.5 % ). In regards to occupation, respondents reported their fathers were predominantly eng ineers/in technology (12.6 %), in management/business (12.6% ), or retired (12.6 %

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66 unemployed (19.3 % ), in the field of medicine (18 % ), or in management/business (9.3% ). The high level of unemployment among mothe rs in this population in addition to the majority of fathers employed in technology/business might account for the entertainment and information. It is important to no that SNS are prevalent and well incorporated into the lives of young adults, as more than half of respondents (63.8 % ) reported visiting social networking sites on a daily basis, and nearly al l (95.4 % ) indicated that they had visited a social networking site in the previous week. Notably, the typical Facebook user experienced high enjoyment 7 point scale. This study also supported claims that Facebook is the currently most popular SNS among adults in the United States (Pew Internet, 2010b). Of the 196 respondents asked, 93.9 % reported using Facebook most frequently, while 4.1 % reported Twitter and 1.5 % reported MySpace. Notably, 83. 1 % of respondents who currently use Facebook, but do not currently use MySpace, reported that they previously had a MySpace page, indicating that they switched social networking sites at some point in their history of social media use. This is a significan t general finding that indicates an overall preference for Facebook that is supported by the many reports suggesting explosive trends across all demographics toward use of the popular social networking site (Pew Internet, 2010a; Pew Internet, 2010b). At pr esent time, Facebook has taken

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67 imperative that researchers continue to examine the use of and motivations for the use of this social networking site. This study also aime d to gather quantitative data that would support qualitative claims that there exists a socioeconomic division between SNS users on Facebook and MySpace, using information from social media use and socioeconomic make up. Ultimately, the results found for t his study focus on the use of Facebook, which will be sample is predominately composed of similar demographics: young, white, full time students who are receiving federal or state grant money to attend school. While college age students are often examined in studies involving social networking sites, a socioeconomic comparison requires a level of diversity not found in this sample. Notably, income was tested for e ach of the three motivations and was not found to be influential. This demonstrates a lack of support, at least in part, for H1 under the first research question that predicted that users of Facebook will have a higher average (2010) socioeconomic status t han users of the social networking site MySpace. Although socioeconomic status proved ineffective in predicting why respondents use Facebook in this population, many (79.7% ) indicated that they were full time students, more than half (53.3 % ) who made less than $10,000 last year. Study L imitations Despite efforts to encourage respondents of all backgrounds by incorporating trade classes, such as welding, auto repair, etc., respondents were predominately young, white, full time students. This, in turn, creat ed a niche of findings that, while significant on their own, are not necessarily applicable for all social networking site users.

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68 survey was the way in which to address education might not necessarily be indicative of life situations. In hindsight, these questions could have included in the blank parental clarification. Additionally, th explanation as to why users who previously had a MySpace page decided to leave the social networking site. The study should have included a question that addressed the possible reasons (including a fill in the blank option) for respondents to answer this unknown. Another limitation is the narrow scope of population, which includes 196 respondents from one university in one state. Further, the respondents are all college students, which limits the perspec tive and background sought for a wide reaching examination of social networking site use and socioeconomic status. In hindsight, a location more diverse in demographics, such as a public library, might have provided a wider range of data. This study also r eveals that the dynamics of social networking sites can change use of MySpace has significantly decreased. social network ing sites has been invalidated. Therefore, it should be noted that the moving target of social media proves to be an especially difficult obstacle, particularly in

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69 the comparison of two different social networking sites. The most recent trends of social me dia have recently suggested that Facebook continues to be in the top 5 most visited Web sites (No. 2 in 2010), while MySp ace has fallen in rank to just under the top 20 (Alexa, 2010; Thelwall & Wilkinson, 2010). In hindsight, this study was, perhaps, rough ly one to two years too late in examining Facebook versus MySpace under the lens of socioeconomic status. Conclusion Facebook has revolutionized the way in which people spend time online. The average Internet user spends more than 4 hours on SNS each month and nearly 1 out of every 8 minutes online is spent on Facebook (comScore, 2011). The uses and gratifications approach implies that audiences are active and goal oriented. This research supports this tenet and takes it one step further in suggesting that users are actively seeking three goals in social networking use: entertainment, information, and interpersonal utility. As implied in the foundation of this theory, this study directly supports with quantitative evidence that Facebook audiences are active and goal oriented; that their motivations help explain their media use; that people form intentions and expectations for media use; and that Facebook users choose a medium based on their sought motives. To date, there continues to be a strong academic int erest in social networking sites, as social media platforms like Facebook (and, currently, Twitter) continue to climb the charts in use and pervasiveness. There have been many concerns about the social impact of social networking sites, and research will l ikely continue to flourish as the need to understand them even more fully remains. As outlined in the literature review, social networking sites have changed the way people communicate and interact, are

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70 now considered part of the milieu of modern social in teractions, and are used as a primary medium for communication and networking ( Back et al., 2010; boyd & Ellison, 2007). Based on the findings in this study, this will likely continue to be the trend for the unforeseeable future. Future R esearch Further research is needed in determining why social networking site users favor one site over another whether it is MySpace and Facebook, or the latest trend in SNS, such as Twitter or Tumblr. It would appear that the socioeconomic factors behind selecting eith er MySpace and Facebook and the reasons behind leaving one for the other leaves room for qualitative study. Research suggests that nearly half of all profiles created on MySpace have been abandoned (Caverlee & Webb, 2008). There is a gap in the researc h as to why these SNS users have chosen to leave MySpace in exchange for other social media in particular, Facebook. % of current Facebook users previously had a MySpace account. Why did they switc h over? Why not keep both accounts? What is Facebook offering that MySpace is not? Continuing danah the intricacies of social networking site users in their 20s who aband oned MySpace for Facebook. However, this research has a fast approaching expiration date, as MySpace seems to be slipping into the background as Facebook (and Twitter) continue to make massive gains in membership. This study found that nearly 94 % of users surveyed use Facebook most frequently. Based on this research and other current social networking site trends, it appears that Facebook is here to stay

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71 step for researchers examining social networking s ites and Facebook might include 1) further study into the amount of time users spend on Facebook; and 3) the element of assumed privacy, as civil litigations surrounding Fac ebook content and increased media use of Facebook profiles in coverage continue to increase. In C losing The use of social media sites such as Facebook is on the rise and continued study is necessary. As indicated in the literature review, Internet users a ges 50 64 who reported using a social networking site grew 88% last year, w hile those 65 or older grew 100% in their use (Pew Internet, 2010a). The trends of social networking sites are not only growing, but are spreading out across all demographics. Early academic research on social networking sites concentrated on motivations of the young and the college aged, which correlated with the early restrictions of Facebook and the general youth first cultural trends of social media. However, more recent findings suggest that the older demographics might become a focus when studying motivations of SNS like Facebook until the next major social networking trend. Ultimately, this study offers an in depth, quantitative examination of the found motivations behind the u se of Facebook entertainment, information gathering, and interpersonal utility and the many intricacies that arrived within that realm. Other social media and mass communication scholars should take this research as a supportive finding of the uses and gratifications approach applied to social networking sites. It should be used as both a leg supporting the foundation of the uses and gratificati ons theory as well as a jumping off point for the next examination of Facebook motivations.

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72 APPENDIX SURVEY: E MAIL AND SCREENSHOTS INFORMAL E MAIL TO RECRUIT PARTICIPANTS FOR SURVEY [This e mail was sent to 40 Santa Fe College instructors inviting them to take part in this research.] Dear Mr./Ms./Dr.___________, My name is Ginny Lawrimore and I am currently University of Florida. I was hoping that students from any of your __________ course(s) could receive a survey that I am conducting regarding the use of MySpace and/or Facebook for my thesis work. Ideally, this resea rch will determine the degree to which segregating based on socioeconomic status. If you were willing, I would ask you to provide a small portion of extra credit for your students (no more than 2% of the final grad e) for their participation and send them an e mail ed link of my survey. (I would later provide you with a list of student IDs of those who participated.) I hope that you consider assisting me in this endeavor and thank you very much for your time. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Sincerely, Ginny Lawrimore University of Florida graduate student

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73 E MAIL BASED SURVEY [The following are screen shots of the e mail based survey.] Figure A 1. First screen of survey Figure A 2. S econd screen of survey

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74 Figure A 3. Third screen of survey (part A)

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75 Figure A 4. Third screen of survey (part B) Figure A 5. Fourth screen of survey

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76 Figure A 6. Fifth screen of survey Figure A 7. Sixth sc reen of survey Figure A 8. Seventh screen of survey

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77 Figure A 9. Eighth screen of survey

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78 Figure A 10. Ninth screen of survey Figure A 11. Tenth screen of survey

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79 Figure A 12. Eleventh screen of survey

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80 Figure A 13. Twelfth screen of survey

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81 Figure A 14. Thirteenth screen of survey Figure A 15. Fourteenth screen of survey Figure A 16. Fifteenth screen of survey

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82 LIST OF REFERENCES Ancu, M., & Cozma, R. (2009). MySpace politics: Uses and gratifications of befriending candidates. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 53 (4), 567 583. Alexa. (2010). Top sites. Retrieved October 4, 2010 from http://www.alexa.com/topsites/countries/US Aubrey, J., Chattopadhyay, S., & Rill, L. (2008). Are Facebook friends like face to face friends: Investigating relations between the use of social networking websites and social capital. Proceedings of International Communication Association, 1 33. Babbie, E.R. (2010). The practice of social research Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth Cengage. Back, M., Egloff, B., Gaddis, S., Schmukle, S., Stopher, J., & Vazire, S. (2010). Facebook profiles reflect actual personality, not self idealization. Psychological Science 21 (3), 372 274. Beaudoin, C. (2008). Explaining the relationship between Interne t use and interpersonal trust: Taking into account motivation and information overload. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication 13 (3), 550 568. Benkler, Y. (2006). The wealth of networks: How social production transforms markets and freedom New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press. 314 (7080). Blumler, J.G., & Katz, E. (1974). The uses of mass communications: Current perspectives on gratifications research Beverly Hills: Sage Publications. Booth, P. (2008). Rereading fandom: MySpace character personas and narrative identification. Critical Studies in Media Communication 25 (5), 514 536. boyd, d. (2007). Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace. Apophenia B log Essay. Retrieved on April 3, 2010 from http://www.danah.org/papers/essays/ClassDivisions.html boyd, d. (2009). The not so hidden politics of class online. Personal Democracy Forum New York, June 30. boyd, d. (2010). White flight in networked publics? How race and class shaped American teen engagement with MySpace and Facebook. Digital Race Anthology Routledge. Manuscript submitted for publication. boyd, d., & Ellison, N. (2007). S ocial network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication 13 (1), 210 230.

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83 Brake, D., & Livingstone, S. (2010). On the rapid rise of social networking sites: New findings and policy implications. Children & Soci ety 24 (1), 75 83. Cantril, H. (1942). Professor quiz: A gratifications study. In P. F. Lazarsfeld & F. Stanton (Eds.), Radio research 1941 New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce. Cassidy, J. (2006, May 15). Me Media: How Hanging Out on the Internet Became Big B usiness. The New Yorker 50. Caverlee, J., & Webb, S. (2008). A large scale study of MySpace: Observations and implications for online social networks. Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence 36 44. Chen, G.M. (2010). Tweet this: A use s and gratifications perspective on how active Twitter use gratifies a need to connect with others. Computers in Human Behavior (In forthcoming online publication). Cho, J., Gil de Zuniga, H., Rojas, H., & Shah, D. (2003). Beyond access: The digital divi de and Internet uses and gratifications. IT & Society 1 (4), 46 72. Chung, D., & Nah, S. (2009). The effects of interactive news presentation on perceived user satisfaction of online community newspapers. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication 14 (4), 855 874. CNNIC. (2010). The 25th Statistical Report on the Internet Development. Retrieved February 7, 2010, from http://www.cnnic.net.cn/uploadfiles/pdf/2010/3/15/142705.pdf Coleman, J.S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94, 95 120. ComScore. (2011). The 2010 U.S. digital year in review Retrieved February 20, 2011, from http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2011/2/comScore_Rele ases_The_2010_U.S._Digital_Year_in_Review Donath, J. (2007) Signals in social supernets. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication 13 (1). Retrieved July 9, 2010, from http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/donath.html Dwyer, C., Hiltz, S.R. and Pass erini, K. (2007). Trust and Privacy Concern within Social Networking Sites: A Comparison of Facebook and MySpace, Proceedings of the Thirteenth Americas Conference on Information Systems, Keystone, Colorado, USA, 9 12 August. Ellison, N., Steinfield, C., & Journal of Computer Mediated Communication 12 (4), 1143 1168.

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88 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Virginia Hoyle Lawrimore received her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she graduated in 2005. Upon graduation, she worked as both a copy editor and a reporter for The Herald Sun in Durham, NC, until moving to pursue a Mast ers of Arts in Mass Communication at the University of Florida. She lives in Gainesville, FL, with her husband, Dave, and their dog, Baxter.