Why Do People Use Social Media? Empirical Findings and a New Theoretical Framework for Social Media Goal Pursuit

Abstract

Why do people use social media? We examine how and why people use social media in the context of their basic needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness, intrinsic and external motivations, and well-being perceptions. Results show that motivations differentially drive social media goal pursuit, and users with different primary social media goals differ in perceptions of well-being. Using these results, we develop a testable theoretical framework for social media goals defined by two higher-order dimensions that contrast the primary focus of the online interaction with the primary direction of the online interaction. The framework may be useful to further understanding of the relationship between users’ social media behaviors and subjective well-being in the context of their fundamental needs and motives.

Keywords: social media, online interaction, interaction focus, interaction direction, self-determination theory, well-being

Hoffman, Donna L. and Novak, Thomas P., Why Do People Use Social Media? Empirical Findings and a New Theoretical Framework for Social Media Goal Pursuit (January 17, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1989586 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1989586

 

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