Date of Award

1-1-2013

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

School of Journalism and Mass Communications

First Advisor

Erik L Collins

Abstract

Social media is a dominant news source among the college-age demographic (18-24). Inherent in news consumption on social media is current events, that is, news that has individual relevance, societal relevance and is time constrained. This study adds to the existing body of uses and gratification literature. This one-shot exploratory study is the first of its kind, examining the "what" or different dimensions of news and the "why" or uses and gratifications that 18-24 year-olds use current events on social media. It also looked at the factors predicting recall of current events on social media.

Using a survey of 896 college students using current events on social media, this study found five gratifications (information seeking, surveillance/guidance, voyeurism and social interaction), including one unique to current events on social media, perpetual entertainment. The gratifications of perpetual entertainment and information seeking, along with the psychological antecedent of current affairs, and one's social media repertoire (the number of different social media accounts one has) predicted overall current events use on social media use. The demographics of major and academic year of study, current affairs and voyeurism predicted recall. Twenty-two different dimensions of news (sports, entertainment, local, pop culture, political, campus, weather, celebrity, national, lifestyle, crime, hometown, other, health, education, international, business, culture and the arts, science and technology, consumer, religious and legal) were predicted by the five different gratifications found in this study, the psychological antecedents of current affairs, affinity, boredom relief and sensation seeking behavior, overall social media use and social media repertoire

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