Why Use Facebook? A Uses & Gratifications Study of Generation X in the UK

University essay from Malmö universitet/Fakulteten för kultur och samhälle (KS)

Abstract: This paper explores the use of the social networking site, Facebook, by the GenerationX cohort (those born 1966-1980 inclusive) currently living in the United Kingdom(identified as a somewhat under-studied group to date). Utilising a ‘Uses &Gratifications Theory’ and ‘(Media) Dependency Theory’ approach and the quantitativeempirical data collection method of an extensive online ‘self-fill’ questionnaire, a totalof 233 individuals from this cohort voluntarily provided the sought-after information,with data collected during early September 2018. An expanded version of Denis McQuail, Jay G. Blumler and J.R. Brown’s 1972 mediagratifications groups/descriptors is proposed and used for this paper’s analysis of results(see section 6.2.4) while a new single media term,‘online collaborative network’, isrecommended by the author as an alternative to current myriad of ‘social media’,‘social networking [site]’ and ‘collaborative media’ all used for the likes of Facebook(see section 9.2.2). Key project results suggest that the UK Generation X cohort spend an average of 75minutes per day using Facebook; that the most-utilised access method is via a mobilephone (89.7%); that the top two ‘uses’ of the social network are both passive ones(‘Scrolling through the homepage News Feed’ and ‘Spending time viewingPhotos/Videos uploaded by others’) and that the top three gratifications obtained fromFacebook use are ‘Contact with Friends’, ‘Contact with Family’ and (to) ‘Pass Time’. Additionally, results provide an interesting and potentially shocking overview ofexclusive dependency upon Facebook for the satisfaction of particular media needs,including the maintenance of contact with certain friends (87.6%) and certain familymembers (61.4%) and, worryingly, as an only source of news (15%).

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