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

University essay from Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle

Abstract: This paper explores the use of the social networking site, Facebook, by the Generation X 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 quantitative empirical data collection method of an extensive online ‘self-fill’ questionnaire, a total of 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 media gratifications 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’, is recommended 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 75 minutes per day using Facebook; that the most-utilised access method is via a mobile phone (89.7%); that the top two ‘uses’ of the social network are both passive ones (‘Scrolling through the homepage News Feed’ and ‘Spending time viewing Photos/Videos uploaded by others’) and that the top three gratifications obtained from Facebook use are ‘Contact with Friends’, ‘Contact with Family’ and (to) ‘Pass Time’. Additionally, results provide an interesting and potentially shocking overview of exclusive dependency upon Facebook for the satisfaction of particular media needs, including the maintenance of contact with certain friends (87.6%) and certain family members (61.4%) and, worryingly, as an only source of news (15%).

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