Looking at, looking up or keeping up with people?: motives and use of facebook

Joinson, A. N. Looking at, looking up or keeping up with people? : motives and use of facebook. In CHI ’08: Proceeding of the twenty-sixth annual SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (New York, NY, USA, 2008), ACM, pp. 1027–1036. [PDF]


This paper investigates the uses of social networking site Facebook, and the gratifications users derive from those uses.

In the first study, 137 users generated words or phrases to describe how they used Facebook, and what they enjoyed about their use. These phrases were coded into 46 items which were completed by 241 Facebook users in Study 2. Factor analysis identified seven unique uses and gratifications: social connection, shared identities, content, social investigation, social network surfing and status updating. User demographics, site visit patterns and the use of privacy settings were associated with different uses and gratifications.

The author starting assumption is that actual uses and gratifications of social networking sites are not well understood. The authors shed some light on probe more in depth the exact nature of “keeping in touch” as both use and gratification. The results of this study suggest that comprises two main functions: the first is a surveillance function, while the second is a self-presentation function. The goal of using sites like FB is to meet new people and therefor making one’s profile more open increases the chances of an interaction. Finally, associated with this use is the social capital building gratification, where FB is used to build and maintain ties with peers.


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