Raacke, J., & Bonds-Raacke, J. (2008). MySpace and Facebook: applying the uses and gratifications theory to exploring friend-networking sites. Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 11(2), 169–174.
This study aims to determine (1) why people use these friend-networking sites, (2) what the characteristics are of the typical college student, and (3) what uses and gratifications are met by using these sites (Raacke & Bonds-Raacke, 2008).
Data was collected through a two-part survey. In the first part of the survey the only question asked was whether or not the participant had a MySpace or Facebook account. Friend-networking sites were never mentioned at this point, and how participants answered determined which survey they received second. These surveys asked questions aiming to determine why people use these sites. If they don’t use these sites, they tried to find out why as well.
The researchers found that these friend-networking sites were used to keep in touch with old friends, as well as many other social motives, which are very similar to this. They also found the highest motive for non-use of these sites was that people did not have a desire to use them. In regards to the age of users versus non-users, they found users were typically younger than non-users. Lastly, social motives were identified as the uses and gratifications of friend-networking sites.
It is important to know why people use different things, and why that might change over time. My research for TECH 621, being conducted right now, is attempting to answer some of these questions, and this is a great article to supplement that.