Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Beyond Access to Social Media: A Comparison of Gratifications, Interactivity, and Content Usage among Egyptian Adults

Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Beyond Access to Social Media: A Comparison of Gratifications, Interactivity, and Content Usage among Egyptian Adults

Article excerpt


With the development of Web.2, where everyone began to participate in the production of knowledge and had an influential and active role in society, that active participation on some of social media SM sites has turned into a new manifestation of modern life for the new generation. Because of such social media features, SM platforms have quickly gained popularity and tremendous use throughout the world. In 2017, statistics show the steady growth every year in SM users to become 2.46 billion [1]. In Egypt, SM played a role in the January 25, 2011 Egyptian Revolution [2], then, SM sites have widely turned into a new space for Egyptians to share information, ideas, and news and to communicate socially. With SM technologies developing and varying day by day, the uses of these networks are being multiplied by Egyptian an user who became more active participants and able to advance socially as the SM has become an increasingly user-generated content. This highlights the importance of studying uses and gratifications U&G approach as Ruggiero [3] has confirmed that "any attempt to speculate on the future direction of mass communication theory must seriously include the U&G approach". SM research is found to be lacking exploration from the U&G approach especially in Egypt and the Arab world. The current study attempts to fill these research gaps and to gain a better understanding of studying the extent of SM type's usage by Egyptian users and what drives them to employ SM platforms, meaning the types of gratifications sought GS from SM usage. It is also more relevant to examine what types of content they use on SM applications and how they interact with them.

Uses and gratifications theory and social media

The traditional imposition in uses and gratifications U&G theory is looking at why and how people actively seek out specific media to satisfy specific needs and that they are able to recognize their reasons for making media choices [4,5]. The focus of the research has changed from the traditional "media effects" to the functionalist paradigm of social science and the research should be focused on the functional analysis of U&G studies which would help to make the audience play a more dynamic role in mass media than a passive role [6] to come to terms with the question by Katz [7] "what do people do with media? instead of "what do media do to people?. Katz, Gurevitch, and Haas [8] categorized 35 needs that motivate the audience to use the traditional media into five groups: cognitive, affective, personal integrative, social integrative, and tension release needs.

"Every medium for mass communication provides a progressive approach at the initial stage" [9], that certain kinds of consumers' needs will drive them toward certain types of media and contents [3,10]. With the widespread adoption of new media, several studies have emerged to search in the new kinds of GS and gratifications obtained GO from using the Internet [10-14]. With the large widespread of SM, their content has the potential to become much more varied and user became a potential producer of content [15]. Although this content is not necessarily truly creative with SM, it can reach so far and become more extensive through re/sharing, re/tweeting and re/pining within the SM sites.

Scholars are interested in uses, tools, and adoption of different SM sites and their services by users to fulfill specific needs. These needs which generate motives (gratifications sought) GS vary depending on the nature and characteristics of SM sites [16-21], social and psychological conditions [22-25] or economic variables and advertising [20,26,27].

Interactivity as a development of active audience

Active audience model was associated with U&G theory when it was applied to traditional media. The model argues that media audience members are active and goal-oriented in their selection of media use behaviors [28] and they do not just receive information passively but are actively involved, often unconsciously, in making sense of the message within their personal and social contexts [29] and they can interpret messages received. …

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