May 1, 2024

People and Their Use of Social Media — A Study With the Help of Uses & Gratification Theory of Mass Communication

Indigenous Art & Culture



DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM & MASS COMMUNICATION.                                          

ABSTRACT :- Social media like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram etc are very popular among people of all ages. Its popularity is growing day by day. In the days of lockdown people got so much used to scrolling the wall of social media. Those media feed their mental needs and emotions. The theory of  “Uses and Gratification”  by Elihu Katz and Jay Blumler in 1974 says that this theory is an audience centered approach to understanding mass communication. It answers different types of questions like why do people use media?  or what do they use them for?  This paper shows how this theory is related to explaining the use of social media by people. Moreover, what type of satisfaction the users get from social media, how effective mediated culture is in providing instant gratification, why people are getting more inclined to using social media day by day.  Social media platforms can be used freely without any cost. Maybe this is one reason for growing intimacy with social media among the consumers. Social interaction, time passing, entertainment, relaxation etc are the reasons that this is going to be discussed.

KEY WORDS:- Social media, Uses and Gratification Theory, Mass Communication,  social interaction, mediated culture.

INTRODUCTION:- Social  media is defined as “a group of internet based applications that build on ideological and technological foundations of web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of user generated content”( Andreas Kaplan & Michael  Haenlein , 2010, page 61). Social media like facebook, twitter, instagram, whatsapp, youtube etc have connected billions of people across the world. For this reason it can not be termed as a simple source of entertainment or time pass. Social media users can communicate to each other  any time as well as they can share pictures , voice messages, make video calls etc . These are also used to document memories, learn about and explore new things, form friendship, blog posting etc.  According to Statista (German company specializing in market and consumer data) it is estimated that there are 3.96 billion people using social media around the globe. The number is expected to rise to 4.41 billion in 2025(Wikipedia).  As social media is part of communication, this theory also deals with such issues. An individual seeks media competitors that fulfill their need and leads to ultimate gratification ( Lariscy et al 2011). The basic matter of this theory is that a person seeks those things from which they receive gratification to their utmost level. This theory is also used in political surveys. But it is largely neglected in media studies. To assume the media consumption process by consumers, we can’t ignore this theory.

AIMS & OBJECTIVES:- This paper attempts to establish a relation between the uses and gratification theory and social media usage, what type of gratification users get from social media. It says that this theory should be given importance in discussing social media usage.

METHODOLOGY:- Different research papers, journals, books were used in developing this paper. At the same time direct interviews were taken nearly among 70 people of different ages. School students of class 9-12, college students , youths, even among the people of middle age(above 40). Both male and female were included in this process. Questions like – why do they use social media ? How long do they use ? What are their activities over there ? What do they like most about social media ?

RESULTS:- After analyzing their responses it can be said that there are some points which are related to uses and gratification theory. The reasons people use social media are- i)pass time ii)social interaction  iii) entertainment  iv)gather and share information  v) relaxation vi) create blog  vii) follow others activity

  1. Pass Time :- More than 75% of people answered that they use social media when they have no work or they get bored in their work. Some commented, “ I use social media to pass my boring time.” Etc.
  2. Social Interaction :- Almost 90% of respondents said that social media is a way of interacting with people with whom they get in touch in the social world. Maybe they don’t meet them physically , but they interact with them in a virtual world. Interaction formed not only among the known persons, but also with the unknown persons, old friends etc.  Many of them never meet face to face. But they are comfortable in making interaction through social media.
  3. Entertainment:-  According to the 70% respondents, social media is a source of entertainment for them. Entertainment like watching videos of movie clips, reality shows clips, memes, singing videos, humorous videos etc. Those videos refresh their minds. It is one type of relaxation to them. Following different types of pages they like, reading the comments on people’s profiles also entertains them.
  4. Gather and share information :- Nearly 60% people look up to  social media as a source of information. Information like daily news, movie news, sales of product, online business. Public news like someone’s birthday, different social events like fair, music events etc.
  5. Relaxation :-  Nearly 70% of people confessed that they use social media for relaxation. It gives them relief  in their activities. Many students said , “ sometimes during the time of study they check out facebook ”and it gives them relaxation.  Many other respondents also admitted that social media gives them relief  by scrolling the social media pages so they don’t need any type of critical thinking. It helps them forget their present issues for sometime and lightens their mental burden.
  6. Creating Blog:- 30% – 40% people said that they use social media to express their view by creating different posts or blogs. Thus they interact with their followers. The followers comment on those posts and blogs. It has become a source of income for many people on social media pages. 
  7. Follow Others Activity:-  Almost 50% people said that along with those above mentioned points, they also use social media to follow others activities- what different famous people or celebrities do,

how their lifestyle is etc.  Thus they satisfy their mental needs.

CONCLUSION:- With the above research paper we can see how we can judge the use of social media with the help of this theory. We get to know why people like social media, how media affects their minds. The findings of this paper are very much important in the field of journalism and mass communication study. The relevance of this theory is very important regarding social media usage. Its importance is as great in the academic field as in the commercial advertisement, or social surveys.The use of social media is growing in such  a rapid way that we can not ignore social media in future. For this reason the theory of Uses and Gratification will remain relevant and important.


i)Kaplan, A.M and Haenlein, M (2010), “Users of the world, unite!” The Challenges and opportunities of social media” Business Horizons, Vol 53 no 1 pp 54-71

ii)Ko, H, Cho, CH and Roberts, M.S (2005), “Internet Uses and Gratification:- a structural equation model of interactive advertising”, Journal of Advertising. Vol 34  no 2 pp 55-70

iii) Miranda, S.M and Saunders, C.S (2003) “ The social construction of meaning, an alternative perspective on information sharing” Information Systems Research, vol 14 no 1, pp 87-106

iv)Kaye, B.K and Johnson, T.J. (2002), “ Online and in the know:-uses and gratifications of the web for political information”, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media ,vol 46, no 1, pp 54-71.

v)Kaye, B.K. and Johnson, T.J. (2002), “Online and in the know: uses and gratifications of the web

for political information”, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Vol. 46 No. 1,

pp. 54-71.